Charlie Hustle Is A Great Read

Sometimes you don’t realize there was a void until that void is filled. Such is the case with Charlie Hustle, the book I anticipate will be recognized as the definitive biography of enigmatic baseball player Pete Rose.

In an era in which society loves to quickly define people in 140 characters or less, author Keith O’Brien gives full context to Rose’s upbringing, rise to the top, and fall from grace. The book is split into three sections, one covering each of those stages. As such it reads almost like a novel and avoids the text book type reading experience of many works of non-fiction.

Like all heroes, Rose was a product of his time in many ways. And baseball has always been a great mirror for American society. In Rose’s case he rose to fame when American cities and towns defined themselves by what they produced. A steel town. A mining town. A town defined by a factory. Rose epitomized the blue collar worker who packed a lunchbox every morning and come home sweaty, dirty, and with some bumps and bruises.

Rose was also white when most of the games biggest stars were not. In an era in which the gritty white guy was celebrated in the music of Bruce Springsteen and on the big screen in Rocky, Pete Rose was the real deal. Rose was also beamed into American living rooms more than previous sports heroes as television networks realized the American appetite for sports on TV was strong and increased their coverage.

Most importantly, Rose was also a tremendous ballplayer. What gets overshadowed by his all time hits record and scandals is the model of consistency Rose was in his prime. From 1965 through the 1979 season Pete averaged .316 at the plate and 204 hits per season in an era in which batting average and hits were the premier metrics for ballplayers. He did that while striking out an average of only 54 times per year. In the era of contact and moving baserunners, Charlie Hustle had no equal.

Rose also existed before the 24/7 news cycle and sports paparazzi. So while there were whispers about affairs, shady friends, and too many hours spent at the horse track there weren’t pictures or videos of these things. The image creators in MLB and at the networks could show the public what they wanted the public to see and shield the things best left out of the public eye.

Which is where the book Charlie Hustle comes into play. Through meticulous research and endless hours of interviews, including many with Rose himself, Keith O’Brien pieces together the full Pete Rose; his upbringing, his career, why America loved him, and ultimately his fall. And he does it all in a book that flows nicely from start to finish without overly celebrating or demonizing his subject.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Super Member
9 days ago

Pete belongs in the Hall of Fame…period!!!

Trusted Member
9 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

The underage girl shenanigans means he will never make the Hall

9 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Joiner

Agree….or they could build a reprobate wing. Put them in there, and detail what they did.

Just imagine all the shit that went down with the many perceived “wholesome / clean” players. Lots of things we don’t know and never will… darlings get a pass that’s for sure.

Super Member
9 days ago

If there is a janitor position open, Rose could work there. oh, I forgot a possible background check.

Seriously though, MLB will get all weepy and conciliatory, only after Rose is confirmed cold and dead. Then they will show what creeps thy are.

8 days ago
Reply to  Angelz4ever

Shoeless Joe will get in before Rose, which is probably never

Super Member
9 days ago

Pete Rose was a great ball player who is also a complete dirtbag. Won’t be elected while alive and really shouldn’t ever be considered. He only accepted the lifetime ban because they had even more damming evidence than what was made public at the time.

Trusted Member
9 days ago

Completely disagree.
He broke the cardinal rule of baseball.
That keeps you out.

He was my favorite player back then and it broke my heart to hear it even in my twenties.
Then, he went from greatest of all time to all but dead to me.
I still have three baseballs in my safe.
A ball from the left fielder at an Angel game.
My son’s first t-ball hit.
A signed Pete Rose ball.

but no to the HoF.

Last edited 9 days ago by Mikeal1st
Super Member
9 days ago

That 15-year stretch where Rose averaged above .300 at the plate and averaged over 200 hits is amazing.

Is he available?

9 days ago
Reply to  angelslogic

According to Rose?


According to MLB?


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x