With 4,256 career hits, Pete Rose owns the major league record. Rose and Ty Cobb, who come in second place, are the only players who have 4,000 or more career hits.
In baseball history, there have been only nine hitters who have hit over.300 with 100 or more runs scored and stolen bases: Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Hank Aaron, Charlie Gehringer and Pete Rose. Of these nine players, seven were right-handed hitters and two were left-handers.
Rose is one of three players (Aaron and Mantle are the others) who have hit 4000 hits in the National League only (the other two are Walt Weiss and Daniel Murphy). He also ranks first among NL hitters with 152 victories above average.
In addition to his role as a player, Rose has served as manager of the Cincinnati Reds since 1985 and director of baseball operations since 1989. He won the National League MVP Award in 1986 when he had 2134 hits.
In 1990, Rose was banned from baseball for life after he was convicted of tax evasion. The conviction was later overturned because of an error by the judge at his trial. In 2004, Rose admitted that he had used cocaine throughout much of his career.
The 3,000 hit club
The current hit leader, Pete Rose, was the second player to achieve 4,000 hits on April 13, 1984, and overtook Cobb in September 1985, concluding his career with 4,256. Roberto Clemente's career finished with exactly 3,000 hits, which he achieved in his final at bat on September 30, 1972.
Clemente was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He played 18 years in the major leagues, ending his career as one of the most beloved players in baseball history.
Rose has been banned from baseball since 1989 for life after he was convicted of tax evasion and perjury. He has maintained his innocence and attempts to have the conviction overturned.
In 2004, Rose was given a formal hearing before an arbitrator about whether or not he violated the league's drug policy when he was a manager in the early 1980s. The arbitrator found that there was no evidence that Rose used drugs but did find that he had accepted gifts from gamblers. This is a common practice in sports and does not violate any rules because gambling on games you are involved in is allowed. The arbitrator also found that there was evidence that Rose had offered to help an unnamed player get work outside of baseball by writing letters on his behalf during the 1982 season. This is also legal under baseball rules because helping a friend find employment elsewhere in the industry is not considered "selling" baseball services. In 2014, Rose was again accused of using cocaine.
Pete Rose: With 3,358 hits, Pete Rose holds the record for most hits in Cincinnati Reds franchise history. The all-time leader in hits, at bats, runs batted in, doubles, triples, and stolen bases, Rose also leads the league in many other categories. He is the only player in MLB history to hit into more than one hundred wins. His 365 career victories are second only to Bob Gibson (379). Although his record was long considered unbreakable, it was finally surpassed in 2013 when Mark McGwire had more hits than Rose.
The man they call "Killer" B. Radbourne: In 1884, Radbourne made his debut as a pitcher for the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the American Association. Over the next three years, he won 30 games while losing just 11, leading the league in wins each season. Radbourne returned to pitch part-time in 1889 but lost nearly every game he pitched. After that year, he retired from baseball entirely to work as a clerk at a bank.
In 1890, the National League was formed by former AA players who wanted to keep their best pitchers for more important games. So, the Red Stockings moved over to the new league and were renamed the Cincinnati Reds.
Pete Rose: Pete Rose became baseball's all-time hit leader on September 11, 1985, when he eclipsed Ty Cobb's record with his 4,192nd hit. At the time, it was believed that it would not be long before someone else broke in. But after hitting just 13 balls in play during his final season, Rose decided to call it a career.
He told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he was tired of getting hurt. "I'm 63 years old," he said at the time. "If I can't take the punishment now when I was healthy, how do you expect me to take it later on when I'm not?"
In 1992, Rose admitted that he had been drinking during games to try and avoid being hit again. This led many people to believe that breaking Cobb's record was not his only reason for giving up batting.
But despite this, the Hall of Fame voting panels still love him enough to give him election every year. If nothing else, he has shown that age is only a number.