Today is Pete Rose’s birthday as they mentioned on the Baseball Today podcast with Eric Karabell and his guest Mark Simon, also of ESPN. Simon is a big time stats guy who is part of ESPN Research and also contributes to their new “The Max Info” blog, a must read. A quick sidenote: things like the TMI blog, Buster Olney’s blog, Jason Grey’s blog, Jayson Stark’s blog, Chad Millman’s blog and a host of other great stuff make paying for the ESPN Insider access WELL worth it.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Simon brought up that Rose was a meager 8-for-39 (.205) on his birthday which is interesting on several levels. First off, Rose is of course the all-time hits leader so to see him go 8-for-39 in a sample is surprising, even though it is tiny and completely arbitrary, but Rose is the kind of guy you could see getting amped for his birthday and having some big day. Secondly, how did Rose only manage 39 at-bats on his birthday in a 24 year career with a mid-April birthday assuring that the season is in full swing each year? I’m glad you asked.
Baseball statistics are rife with quirks and amazing oddities that go a long toward making it my favorite game and Pete Rose’s birthday performance is just another on the long list of things. Take a look at his season-by-season April 14th results:
|YR||TM||APR 14 RESULT||ROSE RESULT|
|1963||CIN||PIT 1 CIN 0||Rose 1-for-5|
|1967||CIN||HOU 8 CIN 2||Rose 1-for-4|
|1970||CIN||CIN 6 SD 1||Rose 0-for-3|
|1971||CIN||CIN 8 ATL 3||Rose 0-for-4|
|1972||CIN||Seas. hadn’t started|
|1973||CIN||CIN 3 SF 0||Rose 2-for-5|
|1975||CIN||LA 5 CIN 2||Rose 0-for-3|
|1978||CIN||CIN 8 HOU 4||Rose 1-for-3|
|1982||PHI||NY 8 PHI 1||Rose 0-for-4|
|1984||MON||PHI 4 MON 3||Rose 2-for-4|
|1985||CIN||NY 4 CIN 0||Rose 1-for-4|
In 13 of the 24 seasons Rose played, his team just happened to have an off-day on his birthday and one other time, the season hadn’t started. What are the chances of that?! Only twice did he play in back-to-back seasons on his birthday. And only twice did he have a multi-hit game on his birthday. In four of the 10 games, he was hitless altogether. His teams were 4-6 on his birthday, I wonder how many times they covered the run line.