44 Consecutive Game Hit Streak by Pete Rose
It began quietly on June 14, 1978. Cincinnati Red Pete Rose’s 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 hit his 3,000th career hit. One month later, he began the streak against Chicago. The streak not only carried through the 1978 All-Star Game (where Rose was the leadoff hitter in a National League win), but also made it through a rough July 19th game against Philadelphia. Rose had gone hitless into the ninth inning where he walked, seeming to end it right there at only thirty-one games. However, the Reds managed to battle back and bat through the order to give Rose another chance. He hit a perfect bunt single to keep the streak alive. The Atlanta Braves finally held Rose hitless on August 1, after sixty-six hits over forty-four games off of pitchers such as the great Steve Carlton, Phil Niekro, Vida Blue, Jim Kaat, 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. In 1990, the Hall of Fame voted to exclude banned players. 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.