Growing up near St. Louis, I saw him a few times with the Reds but what really stands out in my memory is his time with the Phillies. He came across as an arrogant show off to me. Sprinting to first base on walk does nothing to help your team win but it does call attention to yourself; and spiking the ball at first base (on defense) after an inning ending ground out is the baseball equivilant of dancing in the end zone.
My opinion is totally subjective, of course; he was a division rival when with the Phillies and I was rooting for the Red Sox in the '75 World Series.
He was a great hitter and he hustled but I still think he was an arrogant bastard.
i saw rose second half of career. great player obviously.
once my mom let me hold her camera at the ball game. we were behind third and rose hit a triple. through no skill of my own, i snapped a picture of rose doing his usual head first slide into third with both rose and the ball frozen next to each other in the air.
besides the all-time hit record, in my opinion more impressive than the all time home record, rose also set or was near records for games played, etc., which means he played at the top level about as long as anyone in history. also he played and made the all-star game at first, second (before my time), third and outfield, and even won some golden gloves.
strangely enough, running out walks and spiking the ball do in fact have a baseball purpose. it is possible to get to second on a wild pitch or bad throw back to the pitcher, and by rule you must voluntarily release a caught ball (if you later trip over the foul line after and drop the ball it is not a legal catch). but i have never heard of rose actually getting to second on a walk, or any infielder losing a catch by tripping later. yes he was an arogant showoff and did these things, and the foolish head first slides, to draw attention to himself.
he was said to be the least liked teammate on every team he played on. he said he wanted to be a 'scab' in the 1972 strike, one of only two players, before free agency and ballplayers getting filthy rich. talk about having no idea about what being a teammate is.
as a fan, and a retired baseball better (no i didnt bust out), the only way the dude should get in the hall of fame is like i did, have his mom buy him a ticket (ok, i was a kid when i went there). there is no excuse for a baseball employee to be involved in baseball gambling, no matter what. the hall of fame penalty is proper and should be enforced strictly.
Saw him play many times in the 70's. Didn't get the name Charlie Hustle for nothing. Played the game all out. Had more desire than just about anyone I ever saw play. It's a shame he let gambling ruin what would have been a first ballot hall of fame career.
As a Dodger Fan I usually rooted against Rose, but had great respect for the way he played.
One of the best plays I ever saw was when he was playing left field against the Padres. I was sitting right on the third base foul line about half way between third and him. The ball was a line drive and he dove for it. The ball bounced right in front of him but without skipping a beat he fielded the ball as he dove and then jumped up without stopping and fired the ball to second to get the runner going from first. It was just amazing how fast he could catch, stand, and fire.... Never was a Pete Rose fan but always admired and appreciated his hustle!!