Few living players have been more divisive than Pete Rose. The gambling alone is enough to draw a sharp line between those who think it should exclude him from the Hall of Fame, and those who think his position as the all-time leader in hits over-rides that consideration. And then there's the rest of Rose: the admission of amphetamine use to David Letterman, or the recent X-ray of an apparently corked bat own by him.
However, the makers of the new documentary, 4,192: The Crowning of the Hit King, appear to be taking a different route. The film, which premieres at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday, is a self-proclaimed "love letter to baseball, that highlights the playing career of one of the game's most honored and controversial stars." So I wouldn't expect too many revelations here.
Producer Aymie Majerski said, "There really hasn't been a documentary on Pete Rose, especially one that focuses on his playing career. That's what we were most interested in, because people have forgotten the kind of player Pete was." That is fair comment: just as Barry Bonds' number will forever be asterisked by the PED allegations, so it is with Rose, and it's easy to forget just how good, for how long, Charlie Hustle was, so a quick recap is in order.
Ten times, over a seventeen-year period, he finished in the top ten of MVP voting. Ten times, he had 200 hits or more, the most ever. He had fifteen qualifying seasons where he hit over .300, including three NL batting titles. And he was an iron-man: from 1974-1980, he missed a total of three games. Overall, nine of the ten "most similar" players to Rose, according to Baseball-Reference.com, are in Cooperstown, and the tenth, Craig Biggio, seems like a lock.
Seems like enough material for a documentary there, and the film is based on 25 hours of interviews with the man himself, as well as Mike Schmidt, Tony Perez and Marty Brennaman. After its premiere, the film will play in Cincinnati next week, and is then scheduled for a DVD release on September 14, 2010 - just after the 25th anniversary of Rose breaking Ty Cobb's hit record. You can find more information at the movie's website, and here's the teaser trailer.