OBSERVATIONS: Defending Rose for his defense

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, up at 3 a.m., can’t sleep, most likely due to the humongous sandwich I ate for dinner from the Submarine House. . .The Pistol, which has grilled pepperoni, Italian sausage, provolone cheese, Swiss cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, banana peppers, onions, pepper relish and marinara sauce, all of it falling off the bun with each sloppy bite.

—DEFEND-ING ROSE: One of the knocks on Pete Rose is that he was not a good defensive player and that position is indefensible.

Rose played more than 500 games at six defensive positions — left field, right field (two Golds Gloves), center field, third base, second base and first base. . .all but shortstop, pitcher and catcher.

Ironically, he signed as a catcher but the Cincinnati Reds had this guy named Johnny Bench.

Vandalia resident Benjamin Jones sent me a copy of his book, ‘Pete Rose Cooperstown Countdown.’ And he pointed this out:

“For three years (1973-75), Rose led all National League left fielders in assists (detractors said he had a weak arm) and range factor. In 1971, Rose led all NL right fielders in putouts. In 1965 he led NL second basemen in putouts. In 1980 he led all NL first basemen (playing for Philadelphia) in assists.”

Is that defense or what?

In addition, Jones pointed out that Rose had 806 hits while playing in his forties while Henry Aaron had 262. Rose scored more runs (366) in his forties than Aaron had hits. And he had more RBI (271) than Aaron had hits.

One caveat: Rose was 45 when he quit playing and Aaron quit when he was 42, so Rose had three more years to pile up his stats.

—QUOTE: From The Hit King, Pete Rose: “If you have someone equal in ability to me I will beat him every time because I will try harder.” (Even at age 45.)

—LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: Remember the guy in Cleveland who sat in the top row of the left field bleachers in Progressive Field and banged his drum, not so slowly, for the entire game.

He did it for 46 years, starting in 1973 and rarely missed a game through 2019, close to 3,900 games. Broadcaster Herb Score called him Big Chief Boom Boom. Now that the Indians are now the – – – – dians, he no longer appears.

The club, though, is putting a bronze drum and bronze bleacher seat in Heritage Park inside Progressive Field in his honor.

His name is John Adams and he is currently in Fariview Park’s O’Neil Healthcare. He undergoes kidney dialysis, has had open heart surgery, has a thyroid problem, a staph infection in his heel and a broken hip.

And yet he told Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com, “I’ve been blessed, I really have. God has been good to me. I have a pity party once in a while that lasts about ten seconds.”

—NINETY-PLUS: When the Reds fired general manager Wayne Krivsky, I asked CEO Bob Castellini at the press conference, “When is the team going to show some stability?” His answer was a gruff, “We just aren’t going to lose any more.”

Oh, really. How has that worked?

Since MLB went to a 162-game schedule in 1962, the Reds have presented their fans with 11 seasons of 90-plus losses. Counting this season, six of those 90-plus losses have come under the current regime.

—QUOTE: From California senator Diane Feinstein: “Winning may not be everything, but losing has little to recommend it.” (Well, where you gonna go?)

—RUN TO DAY-LIGHT: It is difficult and foolish to criticize a coach after his team wins a game, 49-10.

But. . .just out of curiosity, why does Ohio State coach Ryan Day call pass plays and wide runs when his Buckeyes are first-and-goal inside the five?

Just give it to those Peterbilt runningbacks and jam it between the tackles. . .the way you do it on second and third down. Look it up in the Woody Hayes playbook.

End rant.

—SEATTLE SLEW: For the first time in 21years, the Seattle Mariners are in the playoffs, with the help of former Reds Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker and Luis Castillo.

Of the 30 current teams, the Mariners are the only one never to compete in a World Series.

The Mariners were not the first major league team in Seattle. There was the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969. And that was their only year in town. They are the only MLB team ever to go bankrupt. Bud Selig’s group bought the team and moved it to Milwaukee as the Brewers.

When the Pilots moved, they were building the Kingdome for them. The place sat as empty as King Tut’s tomb until 1976 when the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks were born. The Mariners came into existence in 1977 and moved in.

—QUOTE: From pitcher Jim Bouton, whose then-controversial book, ‘Ball Four,’ was written about the ’69 Pilots: “Doubleday’s first law is that if you throw a fastball with insufficient speed, somebody will knock it out of the park with a stick.” (And Bouton would know. In 92 innings he gave up 13 home runs, some of which landed in Tacoma.)

—ON THE OTHER HAND: After watching wide receivers in several games make one-handed catches, an idea popped into my head.

With the huge yardage amassed by the passing game, make it more difficult. Require all receivers to catch passes with one hand. If you touch the ball with both hands, the yellow hankie flutters and it is a 15-yard penalty for illegal use of two hands.

Do I sound like Rob Manfred? I’m sorry.

Did you see ESPN’s Top Ten plays Saturday? No. 1 was from a Cincinnati Moeller High School game, a wide receiver catching a touchdown pass in the end zone. . .with one hand, of course.

—As my great friend and author Scott Russell would say, “Carry on.”

3 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Defending Rose for his defense”

  1. If your sleepless nights gets us great readings like this one then have many more of those Submarine sandwiches.

  2. Another great read, but right should be right. Johnny Bench was drafted two years AFTER Rose had won Rookie of the Year. But they did have All Star catcher Johnny Edwards.
    Thanks the submarine sandwich. It sounded delicious and gave us a great read.

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