The Pete Rose Years – 1986 Topps part 4
The mid-1970s was the heyday of the Cincinnati Reds and the focus of the fourth card of the Pete Rose Years subset. This card also featured Pete Rose’s second position change as the Hit King headed back to the infield.
The Pete Rose Years subset was inserted at the beginning of Topps’ 1986 factory set to commemorate Rose passing Ty Cobb to become baseball’s all-time hit leader on Sept. 11, 1985.
The fourth card in the tribute series featured thumbnail versions of Rose’s cards from 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979 Topps set.
Rose lead the Big Red Machine to a seven game World Series win over the Boston Red Sox. For his effort, Rose was named the mvp of the series and Sports Illustrated “Sportsman of the Year.” The same season, Rose moved from the outfield to third base.
My favorite card in this set is the 1976 card (upper right). Rose with the sideburns and flip-up sunglasses is photographed with a determined look on his face.
The next season, Rose and the Reds became the first team since the expansion of the playoffs in 1969 to go undefeated in the postseason.
In addition to the earning his first two championship rings, Rose broke a number of impressive records and also continued on his march to become baseball’s hit king.
In 1978, tied the National League’s consecutive game hitting streak with 44 hits from June 14 to July 31. The streak tied the mark set by Willie Keeler in 1897 while with the Baltimore Orioles.
A season earlier, he passed Frankie Frish to become the hit king among switch hitters with his 2,881st hit on July 25, 1977.
Rose also reeled off a pair of milestones on his quest to become the Hit King. He notched his 2,500th hit on Aug. 17, 1975 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and then became the 13th member of the 3,000 hit club on May 5, 1978. That hit came against the Montreal Expos at Riverfront Stadium and allowed former Red Tony Perez to congratulate Rose on first base.
During this era, Rose went to the all-star game each of the four years. By the end of the 1978 season, Rose had totaled 3,164 hits and was less than 1,000 hits away from catching Cobb.