Heading into last night's Riverfront Stadium action, Las Vegas odds against Pete Rose breaking Tommy Holmes' National League modern consecutive-game hitting streak this month were 5 to 1.
"If anyone can do it, Rose is the one," said oddsmaster Bob Martin. "We just put up the line and already we've gotten action on it."
In the 29th game of his streak, the Cincinnati sizzler broke the record for switch hitters, set by Red Schoendienst of St. Louis. With his 30th game, when he passed Cap Anson (3.081) for 10th on the all-time his list, Rose also tied the all-time Red consecutive-game record set by Elmer (Red) Smith in 1898. Modern records do not take in pre-1900 jobs inclucding 'Wee Willie Keeler's 44-game string in 1897 for Baltimore, then an NL club.
Barring rainouts, Rose's timetable would put him in New York for the 38th game, which would beat Holmes' streak of 37 for the 1945 Boston Braves - giving Holmes easy opportunity to be on hand: he is a community relations director for the Mets.
If his record is to be broken, Holmes hopes it is by Rose or his ilk: "He gives you $1.10 for $1 . . . has the consistency . . . is great at hitting that ball where it's pitched . . . God knows, if he breaks the record he could go to 40 or 50 games."
What about 57? Quoth "Linesman" Martin of Nevada: right now, a $1 bet returns $1,000 if Rose beats the all-time major league mark of 56 set in 1941 by Mr. Coffee - er, the Yankee Clipper, Jose DiMaggio . . .