It began quietly on June 14, 1978. Cincinnati Red Pete Roses hit streak ended forty-four games later on August 1, twelve games shy of the record set by Joe DiMaggio of the Yankees thirty-seven years earlier. Charlie Hustle was the first serious challenger to one of baseball's most hallowed records, and the only one to come within fifteen games of the record. He did, however, tie with the pre-DiMaggio record holder Willie Keeler (1897). While few seemed to notice at first, by mid-July the eyes of the nation were on Rose and his quest to become the record holder. No one was more interested than DiMaggio himself who often wished Rose well in the press, but was more than happy to keep his record when all was said and done.
1978 was one of Rose's best years. On May 5, he recorded his 3,000th career hit. One month later, his streak began against the Chicago Cubs. The streak not only carried through the 1978 All-Star Game (Rose was the leadoff hitter in a National League win), but also made it through a rough game on July 19 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Rose had gone hitless into the eighth inning, when he walked, making it likely that the streak would end right there at only thirty-one games. However, the Reds managed to extend the inning long enough for six more batters to get to the plate, giving Rose another chance as the third batter of the ninth inning. With one more chance, Rose dropped a perfect bunt single, to keep the streak alive.
The Atlanta Braves finally held Rose hitless on August 1, after seventy hits over forty-four games, against great pitchers like Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Vida Blue, Jim Kaat, J.R. Richard, Bob Welch, and Tommy John. Rose was greatly upset by the Braves pitchers and blasted them in the press for not challenging him with any fastballs.
Rose was banned from baseball on August 24, 1989. On February 4, 1991, the Board of Directors of the National Baseball Hall of Fame approved a new rule to bar players on baseball's ineligible list from being eligible for election to the Hall of Fame. Rose's banishment is still one of the most debated topics in baseball. His forty-four game hit streak is often considered one of the major reasons that this record-holding player should be reinstated by Major League Baseball. Baseball Almanac is proud to pay tribute to a feat that is nothing short of fabulous.
In Chronological Order | Pete Rose Stats | Research by Baseball Almanac
06-30-1978 (Gm 2)
07-07-1978 (Gm 1)
07-07-1978 (Gm 2)
07-28-1978 (Gm 1)
07-28-1978 (Gm 2)
The Pete Rose 44 Consecutive Game Hitting Streak by Baseball Almanac
How did the 44-game hitting streak come to an end? On August 1, 1978 , Pete Rose went 0-for-4 against Atlanta Braves pitching. In the first inning against starter Larry McWilliams , Rose walked. Rose lined out to McWilliams in the second inning. In his third plate appearance against McWilliams , Rose grounded out to the shortstop in the fifth inning. With reliever Gene Garber in the game, Rose lined out (into a double play) to the third baseman in the seventh inning. In the ninth inning, Rose faced Garber a second time and struck out (foul-tip into the mitt of catcher Joe Nolan , to end the game AND end the 44-game streak.
Pete Rose's banishment from the National Baseball Hall of Fame is still one of the most controversial events in baseball history. Tell us how you feel on our message board . Share your memories of this streak there as well!