That coach? It’s none other than baseball’s all-time hit leader Pete Rose.
ESPN’s Outside The Lines profiled the Yankee infielder with the man who was banned from the game in 1989. It was A-Rod that sought Rose out at a publicity event and asked, according to Rose, “How the hell did you get all them hits?” Rose and Rodriguez now communicate regularly, via text messaging.
A-Rod’s explanation for the relationship with his unofficial mentor was simple:
“He’s the world’s all-time leading hitter. I mean, it’s kind of like, if you’re a writer, why wouldn’t you want to talk to Earnest Hemingway? You know? If you’re a painter, Picasso. Baseball … Pete Rose.”
Rose and A-Rod both achieved success from different positions in the field, and both draw a bit of scrutiny in the media, each in his own way. Given the predictions that A-Rod will rewrite the home run record book, Rose may unknowingly be assisting the man that could overtake his own career hit total, and thereby removing his best argument for entrance in the Hall of Fame.
Of course, none of this would be an issue if Pete Rose had played in the NBA. David Stern would have given him his own wing.