Phillies first baseman Pete Rose moved into sole possession of second place on baseball's all-time hit list when he doubled off Cardinals pitcher John Stuper in the third inning of Philadelphia's 3-2 loss at St. Louis last night.
The hit, on a 3-0 pitch, was the 3,772nd of Rose's career, moving him one ahead of the 23-year career total of Henry Aaron, baseball's all-time home run king.
Rose lined the ball to center field. Willie McGee fielded the ball toward the right-center field alley, and Rose beat second baseman Mike Ramsey's relay throw to second with a belly slide.
The hit drove in Ivan DeJesus from second base to tie the game at 2, but the Cardinals went on to win when reliever Ed Farmer walked Mike Ramsey with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
Rose, 41, now trails only Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, who had 4,191 hits, for the most career hits in major league history.
Rose managed to put the feat in perspective.
"In the last 12 years, I've been on five World Series teams, and played in six league playoffs," he said. "If I get a hit the first time up tomorrow, I won't say, 'Four-hundred-eighteen more.' "
But 418 more hits--plus one--would tie him with Cobb.
"I think it's important to me that I take care of myself so that I'll have a chance. I may go blind tomorrow. I can't worry about that. I don't worry about that. That's why I've missed only nine games since 1970."
Rose received a standing ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd after his hit. In his first at bat, in the first inning, he grounded out to the right side.
Rose had tied Aaron at 3,771 when he singled twice off Cardinals pitcher Dave LaPoint in the Phils' 7-5 loss to St.Louis Monday night.
Aaron accumulated his 3,771 hits while playing for the Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves from 1954 through 1974, and for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975 and 1976. Aaron, who had 755 homers in his career, had 3,600 hits in the National League and 171 in the American League.
Last season, Rose, who played for the Cincinnati Reds from 1963 through 1978 before becoming a Phillie via free agency in 1979, became the National League's all-time hit leader.
He tied Stan Musial's all-time NL high of 3,630 hits when he singled off Houston's Nolan Ryan on June 10, 1981, the last day before the 10-week players' strike. When the schedule resumed on Aug.10, Rose singled off St. Louis' Mark Littell for his 3,631st hit, enabling him to pass Musial, who spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals.