Rose, a switch hitter, is the all-time major league leader in hits (4256), games played (3562), and at bats (14,053). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequalled five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B, 1B).
In August 1989, three years after he retired as an active player, Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball amidst accusations that he gambled on baseball games while playing for and managing the Reds; some accusations claimed that he bet on, and even against, the Reds. After years of public denial, in 2004 he admitted to betting on, but not against, the Reds. After Rose's ban was instated, the Baseball Hall of Fame had specifically stated that individuals who are banned from the sport are ineligible for induction; previously, those who were banned had been excluded by informal agreement among voters. The issue of his possible reinstatement and election to the Hall remains a contentious one throughout baseball.
Rose grew up in a working class area of nearby Anderson Ferry, Ohio as one of four children to Harry and LaVerne Rose, and was encouraged as a young boy to participate in sports. His father, who played semiprofessional football, was the biggest influence on Rose and his sports career. He played both baseball and football at Western Hills High School. Rose paid so little attention to his studies in ninth grade that his teacher decreed he would have to attend summer school or be held back. His father kept Rose out of summer school: it was better for his son to repeat a year of school, Harry Rose said, than miss a season playing ball. Barred from his high school team because of his poor performance in class, he got onto a Dayton amateur club instead and batted .500 against grown men. By the time Rose had graduated in 1960, he had impressed the Reds enough for them to offer him a $7,000 contract, with $500 more if he made it all the way to the major leagues and managed to stay there for a full year.
Rose was signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent on July 8, 1960 and was assigned to the Geneva Redlegs of the New York-Penn League. In 1961 Rose was promoted to the Class D Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League, where he batted .331, set a league record for triples, but led the league in fielding errors.
Rose's next move was to the Class A Macon, Georgia team, where he hit .330, leading the league in triples and runs scored. During a spring training game against the Chicago White Sox in 1963, the Reds' regular second baseman, Don Blasingame, pulled a groin muscle. Rose got his chance and made the most of it. During another spring training game against the New York Yankees, Whitey Ford gave him the derisive nickname "Charlie Hustle" after witnessing Rose sprint to first base after drawing a walk. Despite (or perhaps because of) the manner in which Ford intended it, Rose adopted that nickname as a badge of honor. In Ken Burns' documentary "Baseball," Mickey Mantle claimed that Ford gave him the nickname after Rose, playing in left field, made an effort to climb the fence to try to catch a Mantle home run that everyone could see was headed over everything.
Rose made his debut on opening day, April 8, 1963 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and drew a walk. On April 13, Rose " who was 0-for-11 at the time " got his first Major League hit, a triple off Pittsburgh's Bob Friend. He hit .273 for the year and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, collecting 17 of 20 votes.
On April 23, 1964, in the top of the ninth inning of a scoreless game in Colt Stadium, Rose reached first base on an error and scored on another error to make Houston Colt .45s rookie Ken Johnson the first pitcher to lose a complete game no-hitter. Rose slumped late in the season, was benched, and finished with just a .269 average.
Rose came back in 1965 to lead the league in hits (209) and at-bats (670), and hit .312, the first of his 10 seasons with 200-plus hits and the first of 15 consecutive .300 seasons. He hit a career-high 16 home runs in 1966, then switched positions from second base to right field the following year. In 1968, Rose started the season with a 22-game hit streak, missed three weeks (including the All-Star Game) with a broken thumb, then had a 19-game hit streak late in the season. He had to finish the season 6-for-9 to beat out Matty Alou and win the first of two close NL batting-title races.
Rose had his best offensive season in 1969, leading the league in batting for the second straight season (.348) and leading the league in runs with 120. As the team's leadoff man he was a catalyst, rapping 218 hits and walking 88 times. He hit 33 doubles, 11 triples, and a career-best 16 homers. He drove in 82 runs, slugged .512 (by far the highest mark of his long career), and had a .432 OBP (also a career best). But the Reds finished four games out of first, and Pete lost the MVP to Willie McCovey. Rose and Roberto Clemente were tied for the batting title going into the final game; Rose bunted for a base hit in his last at-bat of the season to beat out Clemente.
On July 14, 1970, in brand new Riverfront Stadium (opened just two weeks earlier), Rose was involved in one of the most infamous plays in All-Star history. In the 12th inning, Rose led off with a single and went to second on a single by the Dodgers' Bill Grabarkewitz. The Cubs' Jim Hickman then singled sharply to center. Amos Otis' throw beat Rose to the plate, but Rose barreled over Indians catcher Ray Fosse, separating the catcher's shoulder, to score the winning run. Fosse never fully recovered from the injury and he has remained critical of Rose's aggressive maneuver to this day.
In 1973 Rose won his third and final batting title with a .338 average, collected a career-high 230 hits and was named the NL MVP. The Reds ended up losing the National League Championship Series to the Mets despite Rose's eighth-inning home run to tie Game One and his 12th-inning home run to win Game Four. During Game Three of the series, Rose got into a fight with the popular Mets shortstop Bud Harrelson while trying to break up a double play; the fight resulted in a bench-clearing brawl. The game was nearly called off when, after the Reds took the field, fans threw objects from the stands at Rose, causing the Reds team to leave the field until order was restored.
On May 5, 1978 Rose became the 13th and youngest player in major league history to collect his 3,000th career hit, with a single off Expos pitcher Steve Rogers. On June 14 in Cincinnati, Rose singled in the first inning off Cubs pitcher Dave Roberts; Rose would proceed to get a hit in every game he played until August 1, making a run at Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak, which had stood virtually unchallenged for 37 years. The streak started quietly, but by the time it had reached 30 games, the media took notice and a pool of reporters accompanied Rose and the Reds to every game. On July 19 against the Phillies, Rose was hitless going into the ninth with his team trailing. He ended up walking and the streak appeared over. But the Reds managed to bat through their entire lineup, giving Rose another chance. Facing Ron Reed, Rose laid down a perfect bunt single to extend the streak to 32 games. He would eventually tie Willie Keeler's National League record at 44 games; but the next day the streak came to end as Gene Garber of the Braves struck Rose out in the ninth inning. The competitive Rose was sour after the game, blasting Garber and the Braves for not challenging him with fastballs.
On a team with many great players that is widely acknowledged by many as one of the greatest teams ever, Rose was viewed as one of the club's leaders (along with future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony P"rez). The influence that Rose's hustling team attitude had on his teammates was very likely a factor in the success of what was called "The Big Red Machine". His 1975 performance was considered outstanding enough that he earned the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. The following year, Rose was a major force in helping the Reds repeat as World Series winners. The 1976 Reds swept the Phillies 3-0 in the National League Championship Series and the Yankees 4-0 in the World Series. The 1976 Reds remain the only team since the expansion of the playoffs in 1969 to go undefeated in the postseason.
In 1979 Rose became a free agent and signed a four-year, $3.2 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, temporarily making him the highest-paid athlete in team sports. In the 86 years before Rose arrived and 22 years after he departed, the Phillies went to the playoffs just three times. In five years with Rose, the Phillies earned three division titles, two World Series appearances and one World Series title (1980).
In 1984 Rose signed a one-year contract with the Montreal Expos. On April 13, Rose doubled off of the Phillies' Jerry Koosman for his 4,000th career hit, joining Ty Cobb to become only the second player to accomplish that feat. The hit came 21 years, to the day, after Rose's first career hit. Rose was traded to the Reds for infielder Tom Lawless on August 15, and was immediately named player-manager, replacing Vern Rapp.
On September 11, 1985 Rose broke Cobb's all-time hit record with his 4,192nd hit, a single to left-center field off San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Show.It was later revealed though that Rose broke Cobbs record 2 days earlier when Cobb's hit record was scaled back to 4,189 after one game was mistakingly counted twice. Rose's final career at-bat was a strikeout against San Diego's Goose Gossage on August 17, 1986. On November 11, Rose was dropped from the Reds' 40-man roster to make room for pitcher Pat Pacillo.
Rose continued to manage the Reds, and on April 30, 1988 he shoved umpire Dave Pallone while arguing a call; National League president A. Bartlett Giamatti suspended him for 30 days. The shove caused a riot within the stands which eventually led to the 30-day suspension.
By the 1980s, Rose was gambling heavily on several sports, and by most accounts lost large sums. Amid reports that Rose had bet on baseball while Reds manager, he was questioned in February 1989 by outgoing commissioner Peter Ueberroth and his replacement, Giamatti. Three days later, lawyer John Dowd was retained to investigate charges against Rose. A March 21, 1989 Sports Illustrated article tied him to baseball gambling.
The Dowd Report asserted that Rose bet on 52 Reds games in 1987, at a minimum of $10,000 a day. On August 24, 1989, he voluntarily accepted a permanent place on baseball's ineligible list. Rose accepted that there was a material reason for the ban; in return, Major League Baseball agreed to make no finding of fact with regard to the gambling allegations and on the provision that baseball would cease exploring Rose's activities, and that after one year Rose could reapply for reinstatement. Rose, with a 412-373 record, was replaced as Reds manager by Tommy Helms.
On April 21, 1990 Rose pleaded guilty to two charges of filing false income tax returns not showing income he received from selling autographs, memorabilia, and from horse racing winnings. On July 20 Rose was sentenced to five months in federal prison and fined $50,000, being released on January 7, 1991 after having paid $366,041 in back taxes and interest.
On February 4, 1991 the Hall of Fame voted to formally exclude players banned from baseball from being placed on their ballots. Under the Hall's rules, players may appear on the ballot for only fifteen years, beginning five years after they retire. Had he not been banned from baseball, Rose's name could have been on the ballot beginning in 1992 and ending in 2006. If he were to be reinstated now, he could be considered as a candidate by the Hall's Committee on Baseball Veterans, beginning in 2007.
Another effect of the ban was to keep the Reds from formally retiring Rose's #14 jersey. However, aside from his son's brief stint with the team in 1997, the Reds have not issued that number since Rose's ban. It is very unlikely that any other Red will ever wear that number again.
In September 1997 Rose applied for reinstatement. Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, never acted on that application. In public comments, Selig said he saw no reason to reconsider Rose's punishment. In March 2003, Selig acknowledged that he was considering Rose's application, leading to speculation that Roses' return might be imminent. Ultimately, however, Selig took no action.
In a December 2002 interview, investigator John Dowd stated that he believed that Rose may have bet against the Reds while managing them;. However, his official report states "no evidence was discovered that Rose bet against the Cincinnati Reds."
Before game two of the 1999 World Series, Rose received the loudest ovation during the introduction of the members of the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. After the ceremony on live television, NBC's Jim Gray repeatedly asked Rose if he was ready to admit betting on baseball and apologize: 
Jim Gray: Pete, now let me ask you. It seems as though there is an opening, the American public is very forgiving. Are you willing to show contrition, admit that you bet on baseball and make some sort of apology to that effect?
Pete Rose: Not at all, Jim. I'm not going to admit to something that didn't happen. I know you're getting tired of hearing me say that. But I appreciate the ovation. I appreciate the American fans voting me on the All-Century Team. I'm just a small part of a big deal tonight.
JG: With the overwhelming evidence in that report, why not make that step...
PR: No. This is too much of a festive night to worry about that because I don't know what evidence you're talking about. I mean, show it to me...
JG: Pete, those who will hear this tonight will say you have been your own worst enemy and continue to be. How do you respond to that?
PR: In what way are you talking about?
JG: By not acknowledging what seems to be overwhelming evidence.
PR: Yeah, I'm surprised you're bombarding me like this. I mean I'm doing an interview with you on a great night, a great occasion, a great ovation. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. And you're bringing up something that happened 10 years ago ... This is a prosecutor's brief, not an interview, and I'm very surprised at you.
JG: Some would be surprised that you didn't take the opportunity.
Many people were outraged over Gray's aggressive questioning, feeling that it detracted from the ceremony. Others felt that given the dichotomy of Rose's banishment from baseball and his inclusion on the All-Century Team, the questions were appropriate. Earlier that season, Rose had been ranked at number 25 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.
In his autobiography My Prison Without Bars, published by Rodale Press on January 8, 2004, Rose finally admitted publicly to betting on baseball games and other sports while playing for and managing the Reds. He also admitted to betting on Reds games, but said that he never bet against the Reds. He repeated his admissions in an interview on the ABC news program Primetime Thursday. He also said in the book that he hoped his admissions would help end his ban from baseball so that he could reapply for reinstatement. The criticism of Rose did not diminish after this admission - even some Rose supporters were outraged that Rose would suddenly reverse fifteen years of denials as part of a book publicity tour. In addition, the timing was called into question - by making his admission just two days after the Baseball Hall of Fame announced its class of 2004 inductees, Rose appeared to be linking himself publicly to the Hall. Further adding to the debate was the 2004 ESPN made-for-TV movie Hustle, starring Tom Sizemore as Rose, which documented Rose's gambling problem and his subsequent ban from baseball.
In October 2005, ESPN Classic aired, as part of its regular series, The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame... Major League Baseball for Keeping Pete Rose Out of the Hall of Fame." Their reasons:
* 5. Shoeless Joe Jackson. Whether he actually did make plays to cause his team, the Chicago White Sox, to lose the 1919 World Series or not, he accepted money from gamblers to do so. For this reason, he has never been elected to the Hall of Fame. If he's not eligible for induction, the reasoning goes, Rose shouldn't be, either. In addition, because of the Black Sox Scandal, the rules against betting on baseball and consorting with gamblers are posted in every professional baseball clubhouse, where it is seen (if not read) every day by every person who comes in. The rule was clear, Rose knew it as well as anyone else, and broke it anyway. And, as a baseball historian, particularly aware of Ty Cobb and his contemporaries (and Cobb was a friend and admirer of Jackson), Rose knew full well the consequences of Jackson's actions. He bet on baseball anyway.
o While ESPN also did a "You Can't Blame" trying to let Jackson and the other "Black Sox" off the hook for throwing the Series, it did not take a stand on whether Jackson, more than half a century after his death, had suffered enough and should be in the Hall.
* 4. The Hall of Fame. It decides who shall be permitted in and not. The Hall's Board of Directors chose to make ineligible for induction any person on MLB's "permanently ineligible" list. If the Hall changed its mind and said that Rose, Shoeless Joe or anyone else on the list was now eligible for induction, there's nothing MLB or its Commissioner could do about it, short of lobbying the voters to vote against Rose and/or Jackson. It's out of MLB's hands. However, it is highly unlikely that the board will change its mind (see below).
* 3. The death of Commissioner Bart Giamatti. Had he lived, Rose would have been able to petition him, rather than his successors, for reinstatement. But with Giamatti dying just a week after handing down the decision, MLB decided that one way to honor his memory was to make the Rose ban permanent. Giamatti's friend, deputy and successor as Commissioner, Fay Vincent, still says he would keep the ban if it was his choice. Vincent's successor, Bud Selig, also a friend of Giamatti's, has said he won't change his mind, either.
* 2. The Dowd Report. The quantity and quality of the evidence it provides is overwhelming, and proves beyond reasonable doubt that Rose not only bet on baseball, but bet on his own team.
* 1. Rose lied about his actions for 15 years. Had he, from the beginning, admitted what he'd done, apologized, and asked MLB and baseball fans for forgiveness, it's likely he would have been given a lesser penalty, or perhaps reinstated after a few years. It has been said that America is a forgiving nation, but the forgiveness must be preceded by confession and repentance, and while Rose has now confessed, he gives the impression that he is sorry only that he was caught and punished, not for what he did to get there. As a result, the majority of the Hall-of-Famers themselves refuse to have anything to do with him joining them, Bob Feller expressing especially harsh opposition. Since many of them are members of the Veterans Committee, this makes it highly unlikely that Rose will ever be admitted even if the Hall allows players on the ineligible list to enter.
During the years 1998 to 2000 Rose performed in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s annual spectacular, WrestleMania. Rose would often be on the receiving end of either a Chokeslam or a Tombstone Piledriver delivered by a man already known to many fans as "The Big Red Machine," Kane. At WrestleMania 2000, Pete Rose was "stink faced" by sumo-themed wrestler Rikishi. In October 2002 he starred alongside Kane in a Halloween-themed commercial for the WWE pay-per-view event No Mercy 2002. In 2004 Rose appeared at WrestleMania XX, where he was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame, becoming the first member of the "Celebrity Wing."
Rose entered the United States Army after the end of the 1963 baseball season. He was assigned to Fort Knox for six months of active duty, which was followed by three years of regular attendance with a Reserve Unit at Fort Thomas, Kentucky. At Fort Knox, he was a platoon guide and graduated basic training January 18, 1964, one week before his marriage to Karolyn. Rose then remained at Fort Knox to assist the sergeant in training the next platoon and helping another Sargent train the Fort's baseball team. Rose received some special treatment during basic training, including not receiving a crew cut and palling around with the colonel. Later in his Fort Thomas service, Rose served as company cook.
Pete Rose married Karolyn Englehardt in 1964 and the couple had two children, daughter Fawn (born in 1968) and son Pete Rose Jr. (born in 1969). The couple divorced in 1980. Rose married his second wife, Carol J. Wollung, in 1984. They had two children, son Tyler (born in 1985) and daughter Kara (born in 1989).
Two of Rose's children have lived public lives. Kara has worked as a television actress, appearing as a regular in the first season of the soap opera Passions and playing a recurring role on Melrose Place. She uses the stage name "Chea Courtney."
His oldest son, Pete Rose Jr., spent 16 years as a minor league baseball player, advancing to the majors just once, for an 11-game stint with the Cincinnati Reds in 1997. In 2005, PJ pled guilty to federal drug charges and is facing up to two years in prison.