10,000 days ago, a very rare career achievement occurred – a baseball player recorded his 4,000th hit. Yeah, obviously it was Pete Rose, during his brief sojourn with the Expos, when he doubled off Jerry Koosmann in the fourth inning on April 13, 1984.
If you know much about Pete Rose’s career, you’re probably aware that he was one of baseball’s great compilers. He became the all-time hit king because he’s also tops all-time in at bats, plate appearances, and games. He’s the quantity king. When he tallied his 4,000th hit, it came in his 3,259th game. In all baseball history, only two others ever played in that many games, Hank Aaron and Carl Yastrzemski. That’s one reason why Rose got 4,000 hits.
He wasn’t just a quantity king, though. He also got his hits at a fearsome pace by any standards. He’s a fun game—take Rose’s hit pace at 4,000 games, cut it in half, and compare to what other players were doing at that time.
Let’s see—Rose made it to 4,000 hits in 3,259 games. The midpoint is 1,629.5 games, so we’ll round up to 1,630 games. How many guys got to 2,000 hits before their 1,630th game?
Well, of the 24 most recent members of the 3,000 hit club, only nine recorded their 2,000th hit in their first 1,630 games. And one of those nine was Rose himself. That’s not bad; after all, players’ pace should decline in the second half of their career. Among those on a slower pace at the 2,000-hit mark include Paul Molitor, who is in the top ten all-time in hits. There’s also uber-start Willie Mays, deadball legend Eddie Collins, and Rose’s fellow compiler God – the Yaz.
Since Rose recorded his 2,000th hit in 1973, only six players made it to 2,000 hits in 1,630 games or less.
First was Rod Carew, which certainly makes sense. After him, no one did it for nearly 15 years, but then Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and Kirby Puckett did it in short order. Over a decade went by before anyone else did it, but in recent years Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki did it.
Purely in terms of the ability to lash out a hit, those sound like the most impressive names of the last 40 years—and that’s what it took to keep up Rose’s 4,000 hit pace for only half as long.
Looking at Carew, Boggs, Gwynn, Jeter, Puckett, and Ichio, you can see a few other special features that allowed Rose to become the all-time leading hit king. Not only was he great at picking up hits at a fantastic rate, but he aged amazingly well. Rose personally got his 2,000 hit in his 1,600th game, a slower pace than any of the others. Carew, Boggs, Gwynn, and Jeter all significantly trailed off, though. Boggs and Carew barely made it over 3,000 and Jeter is well past his prime now.
Rose was also extremely healthy, and health ruined Puckett.
Lastly, Rose sure is lucky that Ichiro was born in Japan. Who knows if Rose would keep the hit title if Ichiro came from Seattle?
Nevertheless, Pete Rose did age well enough to get that 4,000th hit.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their “day-versary” or anniversary today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you just want to skim:
3,000 days since John Olerud got his 2,000th hit. It took him 1,933 games, well off Pete Rose’s pace.
3,000 days since Roger Clemens records his 4,000th strikeout, but no one really cares about that because it came in the midst of his 300th win.
4,000 days since Jimmy Rollins makes his big league debut.
5,000 days since the Mets trade Carl Everett to the Astros.
7,000 days since Commissioner Fay Vincent threatens to suspend Buck Showalter, Gene Michael, and the Yankee vice president for testifying on behalf of Steve Howe. That hardly sounds like an appropriate thing to threaten suspensions over.
8,000 days since Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting Company buys the Mariners from George Argyros.
10,000 days since the St. Louis Cardinals retire #85 for owner August Busch Jr.
15,000 days since Lou Brock steals home on a double steal.
1878 Hall of Fame pitcher Al Spalding last appears in a game.
1894 Sliding Billy Hamilton steals seven bases in one game—a game that only lasts eight innings.
1900 In the second inning, Dodger pitcher Brickyard Kennedy walks six Phillies in a row.
1901 In a 14-inning Reds-Cubs game, pitchers fan 26 batters, which is an insane total for those days. Cincinnati’s young stud pitcher Noodles Hahn fans 11, while Chicago’s Long Tom Hughes blows away 15.
1902 The Cubs purchase young infielder Johnny Evers.
1903 For the third time this month, Giants starting pitcher Iron Man Joe McGinnity wins two complete games in a doubleheader. New York tops Philadelphia 4-1, and 9-2.
1904 New York Giants catcher Frank Bowerman slugs a fan in the sixth inning, and has to be escorted from the field by police. The fan drops charges the next day.
1906 The injury-depleted and desperate Tigers call up 46-year-old former slugging star Sam Thompson, who last played in 1898.
1909 The A. J. Reach Company is granted a patent for a cork-centered ball.
1911 Will White, 200-game winner, dies.
1913 Fred Clarke records his 1,000th loss as a manger. He’s 1,382-1,000 for his career.
1915 The Dodgers claim Rube Marquard off of waivers from the Giants.
1915 Jimmy Lavender of the Cubs no-hits the Giants, winning 2-0.
1919 Umpire Bill Klem tosses everyone on the Brooklyn bench except for the batboy and manager Wilbert Robinson. In that same game, Brooklyn pitcher Burleigh Grimes is spiked at first and will miss the rest of the season.
1920 Cub president William Veeck Sr. receives a letter informing him that there is heavy betting on today’s Cub-Phillies game, and rumor has it the fix is in. The Cubs switch starting pitchers, but lose 3-0 anyway.
1922 Hall of Famer Harry Hooper gets his 2,000th hit in his 1,880th game played.
1923 Giants owner Charles Stoneham is indicted by a federal grand jury for perjury stemming from a mail fraud investigation.
1930 Mel Ott clubs three homers in one game in a 14-10 Braves victory over Ott’s Giants.
1931 Two days after belting his ninth career grand slam, Lou Gehrig nails the 10th of his record 23 career grand slams.
1931 Indians pitcher Wes Ferrell bashes two homers while beating the White Sox, 13-5.
1932 Kiki Cuyler joins the 100 home run club in style. It’s a walk-off three-run shot with two out in the bottom of the ninth and his club trailing by two, capping a five-hit performance and delivering the Cubs their 12th consecutive win as they are in the midst of a massive late-season surge that will earn them the pennant. Yeah, that’s about as cool a 100th career home run as you’ll ever see.
1933 Knuckleballer Dutch Leonard makes his major league debut.
1935 Lefty Gomez records his 100th win, giving him a career record of 100-49.
1935 Frank Robinson, one of the most underrated players and toughest men ever, is born.
1935 Vern Kennedy tosses a no-hitter and bashes a triple all in one game. It’s the first no-hitter ever at Comiskey Park, as the Sox top the Indians, 5-0.
1936 Chicago White Sox Luke Appling’s best hitting streak peaks at 27 games. He’s just 35-for-100. Most 27 game hit streaks feature more than 35 hits. In that same game, rival manager Joe McCarthy consents to let Chicago use Dixie Walker as a temporary substitute. After Mike Kreevich gets spiked, Walker subs for him while Kreevich gets patched up, and then Kreevich comes back in the game.
1937 Mel Harder, in his 10th big league season, allows his first grand slam. It’s to Lou Gehrig. This is his 22nd and next-to-last grand slam.
1939 The Braves sells Al Simmons to the Reds.
1941 Despite fanning only two batters, Lon Warneke tosses a no-hitter.
1943 Washington purchases Bobo Newsom from the Browns.
1947 The Yankees release veteran infielder Frankie Crosetti.
1950 A young Billy Pierce surrenders a walk-off walk, as the Red Sox beat him, 4-3.
1950 Gil Hodges connects for four homers in one game, which his Dodgers win 19-3 over the Braves.
1954 Claudell Washington is born.
1955 It’s a pair of impressive pitching performances and one really lousy one. Cleveland starter Herb Score fans 13 Orioles, and Baltimore’s Hal Brown nearly matches him, fanning 10 in eight innings in relief. But Baltimore’s starting pitcher allows five runs in one inning, so Cleveland wins.
1956 Hall of Famer George Kell, who has only 78 homers in his career, has the third and final multi-home run game of his career. A little over seven weeks ago, he had his second one.
1956 With President Eisenhower watching, Washington Senator Jim Lemon belts three home runs in one game.
1957 In the minor leagues, a pitcher fans 24, but loses 9-8 due to 18 walks, four hit batsmen, and six wild pitches. The pitcher? Steve Dalkowski, of course.
1957 Tom Candiotti is born.
1958 Sal Maglie plays in his final major league game.
1958 Von Hayes is born.
1959 Sandy Koufax fans 18 batters in one game for the first of two times in his career. His line: 9 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 18 K. This sets a new NL record for strikeouts in one game, as the Dodgers top the Giants, 5-2.
1962 Jim Bunning allows a personal worst 14 hits in one game. But only two score, as the Tigers top Chicago, 5-2.
1963 Houston leads Chicago 5-1 entering the ninth, only to have a Chicago rally capped by a two-out grand slam by Ellis Burton for a 6-5 Cub win.
1963 Stan Musial plays in his 3,000th game.
1964 It’s the groundbreaking for the Angels Stadium in Anaheim.
1965 Bob Gibson does what he does best—belt a home run while tossing a complete game shutout. This is the third of a (record?) six times he does that, as the Cards top the Cubs 3-0 behind Gibson’s two-hitter.
1966 Bobby Richardson announces his retirement.
1966 Jim Hicks has a walk-off sacrifice hit, as the White Sox beat the Tigers, 7-6.
1968 The Tigers purchase Roy Face from the Pirates, ending his run in Pittsburgh.
1968 Hideo Nomo is born.
1969 Morganna the Kissing Bandit jumps on the field in Atlanta to kiss Clete Boyer, who proceeds to immediately break out of a 1-for-17 slump by going on a 8-for-15 tear.
1971 Luis Tiant picks up his first win in 388 days.
1972 Willie Davis legs out his 100th triple.
1972 The Tigers purchase Frank Howard from the Rangers.
1972 Nolan Ryan tosses his third consecutive complete game shutout, the first of two times he does this. His line in this period: 30 IP, 13 H, 0 R, 13 BB, and 31 K.
1973 Sal Bando connects for his only career inside the park home run.
1974 Fergie Jenkins allows back-to-back singles in the second inning, but otherwise pitches a perfect game for Texas, earning his 20th win of the year.
1974 Johnny Bench comes to the plate twice in one game with the bases loaded, and hits a three-run double to center, and a grand slam home run. I wonder how deep to center that double was.
1974 Portland Mavericks manager Frank Peters lives up to his team’s nickname with an odd strategy—for one game all his players will rotate position every inning, allowing all nine men to play all nine positions. They win 8-7.
1975 The A’s purchase Cesar Tovar from the Rangers.
1975 Gabe Kapler is born.
1977 There’s a new home run king of all-time and his name is Sadaharu Oh. The Japanese legend belts his 756th home run.
1977 Sparky Lyle records his third win in three days, all on late-inning homers by the Yankees.
1979 The Phillies fire Danny Ozark. Dallas Green takes over as manager.
1981 St. Louis Cardinals Garry Templeton is hospitalized for psychiatric observation, just days after giving the fans the finger at Busch Stadium.
1981 The Royals fire manager Jim Frey and hire Dick Howser as his replacement.
1984 Buddy Bell belts a walk-off grand slam, giving Texas a 7-6 win over Milwaukee.
1985 The Pirates trade Bill Madlock to the Dodgers.
1987 Andre Thornton plays his final game.
1987 Toronto releases Phil Niekro.
1987 It’s the potato play! Williamsport Bills catcher Dave Bresnahan pulls off an all-time great stunt. He stashes a potato by his mitt, and with a runner on third, intentionally tosses the potato into left in what looks like a pick-off attempt. The runner trots home with what he thinks is a run, only to be tagged with the ball. However the ump isn’t amused and overrules the play, saying the player is safe.
1988 Arbitrator George Nicolau finds that the owners are once again guilty of collusion. This ruling deals with the 1986 free agent class. A previous ruling found the owners guilty with regard to the 1985 free agent class.
1988 Baltimore trades Fred Lynn to the Tigers. However, Lynn is unable to join his new team by midnight, and under the rules will not be eligible to play in the postseason should Detroit get there.
1989 Arbitrator Thomas Roberts orders MLB to pay $10.5 million in damages due to collusion after the 1985 season.
1990 Seattle’s Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. become the first ever father-son combination to play in the same lineup.
1991 Spike Owens his a walk-off sacrifice hit in a 5-4 Expos win over the Astros.
1993 Mark Grace gets his 1,000th career hit.
1993 Frank Thomas belts his 100th home run.
1993 The Dodgers trade Eric Davis to the Tigers.
1993 The Cardinals trade Lee Smith to the Yankees.
1993 Wade Boggs fans three times in three plate appearances. He fans three times in a game other times, but this the only time it occurs in merely three PA.
1994 Cleveland purchases Dave Winfield from the Twins.
1994 The Pirates sign amateur free agent Aramis Ramirez.
1995 Mike Moore pitches in his final game.
1995 Paul O’Neill belts three homers in one game for the Yankees.
1996 Manny Ramirez is caught stealing twice in one game, but Cleveland manages to survive, eking out a 22-8 win over the Marlins. Florida scores five runs in the first, and it was all downhill from there.
1997 Andruw Jones belts his first grand slam. He won’t have another for seven years.
1997 The Cubs send Shawon Dunston to the Pirates, ending his days in Chicago.
1997 The Yankees retire number 23 for Don Mattingly.
1998 Rickey Henderson scores his 2,000th run.
1998 Juan Gonzalez hits a triple, homer, and two doubles, but misses the cycle by a single.
1998 Blake Stein allows eight runs while getting zero batters out. Since 1920, that’s only happened five times, and no one has “topped” the eight runs / no outs combo. It’s one of only two times all eight runs are earned.
1999 Randy Johnson tosses his 14th straight Quality Start, his best such stretch. Incredibly, he’s only 5-6 in that stretch despite a line of: 113 IP, 80 H, 22 R, 19 ER, 28 BB, 158 K, and a 1.51 ERA. The Diamondbacks were shutout four straights times he started earlier this summer.
2001 Atlanta purchases Julio Franco from the Mexican League.
2002 Milwaukee trades Mark Loretta to the Astros.
2003 Baltimore trades Jeff Conine to the Marlins.
2003 The Blue Jays lose in horrible fashion to the Indians, 5-4. Toronto was up 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, before a hellish series of plays occurred. After a leadoff single, an error by catcher Kevin Cash (who just entered the game as a defensive replacement) on a sacrifice hit attempt puts runners on second and third. Then first baseman Orlando Hudson, who also just entered the game as a defensive replacement, bungles a fielder’s choice, allowing two runs to score.
2003 The Yankees trade Jesse Orosco to the Twins.
2004 Omar Vizquel notches six hits in one game.
2005 Andy Pettitte tosses his 10th straight Quality Start, his best such streak. His line in that time: 7-2 W-L, 73 IP, 52 H, 13 R, 13 ER, 18 BB, 62 K, and a 1.60 ERA.
2005 Florida rookie Jeremy Hermida belts a grand slam in his first big league at bat.
2006 Boston trades David Wells to the Padres.
2007 Ken Griffey hits his first trips since June 24, 2003. He went 1,989 straight PA without one.
2009 Andy Pettitte retires the first 20 Baltimore batters of the game, before an error and hit break up his perfecto. He still wins, 5-1.
2009 Arizona trades Jon Garland to the Dodgers.
2009 The White Sox trade Jim Thome to the Dodgers, where he’ll be a pinch hitter.
2009 Toronto takes an easy 11-0 lead over the Rangers, only to see Texas roar back, making it 11-10. Then Toronto scores seven in the ninth for a 18-10 win.