The Board

 

PETE ROSE

Pete Rose was born on April 14, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Known as “Charlie Hustle” for his hard-charging style, he became one of the greatest players in the history of professional baseball and retired as the all-time leader in hits, games and at-bats. An investigation revealed that Rose had bet on games while serving as a manager, earning him a permanent suspension from the sport.

Peter Edward Rose was born on April 14, 1941, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in nearby Anderson Ferry. His dad, Harry—also known as “Big Pete”—had been a boxer and a semipro football player, and Rose credited him as the model for what would become his intense, hard-charging style. After playing football and baseball at Western Hills High School, Rose signed with the hometown Cincinnati Reds.

Nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” by All-Star Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford, Rose made his major league debut in 1963 and went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year award. In the ensuing years, the switch-hitter would establish himself as one of the best players in baseball. Rose surpassed 200 hits for the first of a record 10 times in 1965, notched batting titles in 1968 and ’69, and won Gold Gloves for his outfield defense in ’69 and ’70.

Rose starred for the “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati teams that won back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and ’76, and set an NL record with a 44-game hit streak in 1978. After signing with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent, he helped them win their first World Series in franchise history in 1980.

Rose spent half of a season with the Montreal Expos in 1984, then returned to Cincinnati as player-manager. On September 11, 1985, he recorded career hit No. 4,192 to break the 57-year-old record held by baseball great Ty Cobb. Rose ended his playing career after the 1986 season with 4,256 total hits, and also held the all-time records with 3,562 games played and 14,053 at-bats.

TONY PEREZ

Tony Perez Retired1Tony Perez is one of the most popular players in Reds history, Tony “Doggie” Perez also enjoys the distinction of being one of only two players to win three World Championships while in a Reds uniform (Ken Griffey, Sr. is the other). A mainstay of the World Champion Big Red Machine clubs of 1975 and 1976, Perez served as the first base coach for the upstart 1990 team that stunned the baseball world with its four-game sweep of the heavily favored Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Signed by the Reds out of Cuba in 1960, Perez reached the Major Leagues four years later.

His breakthrough year came in 1967 when Perez became the club’s starting third baseman and enjoyed the first of his seven career 100-RBI seasons. Perez’s ability to drive in runs came to define his career. He averaged over 100 RBI per season from 1970 – 1976 achieving a career high with 129 for the 1970 Reds team that won the National League pennant. Perez moved to first base in 1972 and by 1975 had emerged as the anchor of one of the most dominant teams in baseball history. The Reds of the 1970s won more games in the decade than any team in baseball. Their decade of dominance culminated in the back-to-back 1975 and 1976 championship seasons. A desire to give more playing time to a young Dan Driessen coupled with a need to add more pitching resulted in the trade of Perez to Montreal in the winter of 1976. While statistically, the Reds did not suffer as a result of the trade, the loss of the club’s emotional leader proved to be much greater than club management ever imagined. The Big Red Machine gradually split apart and it would be fourteen years before another Reds team would reach the World Series. When it did, it came as no surprise that Tony Perez played a part; albeit from the other side of the foul line. Perez was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1998 and became a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. His uniform No. 24 is one of only nine uniform numbers retired by the Reds.

FRANK THOMAS

Frank Thomas headshotFrank Thomas was quite possibly the most exciting major league baseball player to emerge in the 1990s. The six-foot-five-inch, 257-pound Thomas wears his nickname “The Big Hurt” well. It aptly describes his devastating talents as a power hitter for the Chicago White Sox. Thomas won back-to-back American League Most Valuable Player citations—in 1993 and 1994—after he put together outstanding seasons as a leader in a number of offensive and defensive categories. Chicago Tribune reporter Skip Myslenski described Thomas as “a major star, a supernova in his game’s constellation of stars.” For his part, the hardworking Thomas has only this to say: “I want to make a dent in the game.” Indeed, by 2005 Thomas had made a “dent,” becoming his team’s all-time leader in home runs (436) and runs batted in (1,439). Thomas’s performance has brought comparison to some of baseball’s biggest names. Between 1991 and 1997, Thomas became the first player in history to put together seven consecutive seasons where he bat over .300 with 20 or more home runs, 100 runs batted in, 100 runs, and 100 walks.

Only four other players have come close to his record—Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Jason Giambi, each accomplished that feat for as many as four consecutive seasons—and they are all in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Small wonder that Thomas earned his first Most Valuable Player award by unanimous vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1993. As Jerome Holtzman noted in the Chicago Tribune, Thomas is “among the very best hitters in baseball history, probably the best of his generation, which is flooded with strong-arm sluggers hitting for both distance and average.” For Thomas, baseball is a serious business. Although he performs at the highest levels he continues to set even higher standards for himself, and diligently works toward them. “I’m a competitive person,” he explained in the Chicago Tribune. “I’ve been involved in athletics all my life, and I don’t handle failure well. That’s why I try to outwork everyone else.” In another Chicago Tribune profile, he concluded: “I’ve learned this much. A player can’t take anything for granted. I have a gift. But that means I have to work extra hard to get better.”

JOE MORGAN

Joe Morgan - 2007“I have never seen anyone, and I mean anyone, play better than Joe has played this year,” Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson told reporters in 1975. Comparable in size to Dead Ball era players at 5-foot-7, 160 pounds, Morgan instead was perfectly suited to the artificial surface game of the 1970s, when he emerged as one of the key cogs in Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.

In the Reds’ back-to-back World Series championship years in 1975-76, Morgan won back-to-back MVP awards in the National League, as well as two of his five consecutive Gold Glove Awards.

Morgan signed with the expansion Houston Colt .45s in 1962. He reached the majors for the first time in 1963 and became Houston’s regular second baseman in 1965. He spent nine seasons with Houston and made two All-Star Game appearances, but became a Hall of Famer after being traded in November 1971 to the Reds and leaving Houston’s cavernous Astrodome. He led the league in walks, on-base percentage and runs scored in his first season with Cincinnati and earned All-Star nods in each of his eight seasons with the Reds. In his peak years of 1975 and ’76, he led baseball in OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage.)

After leaving the Reds as a 36-year-old free agent in 1980, Morgan remained a key player on winning teams, playing for Houston’s division winner in 1980, playing two productive seasons in San Francisco and then belting 16 homers for Philadelphia’s pennant-winning “Wheeze Kids” in 1983. He played his final season back home in Oakland in 1984 before embarking on a long career as a broadcaster.

Baseball historian Bill James has called Morgan the best percentages player in baseball history, and indeed Morgan’s game was marked by efficiency. He was an ideal hitter early in a batting order, ranking fifth all-time in walks (1,865) and 11th in career stolen bases with 689.

STEVE GARVEY

Steve_Garvey_3x5_300dpiGarvey played for the Dodgers from 1969 to 1982 and was an eight-time All-Star with the team, winning the All-Star game MVP award in 1974 and 1978. He was also named NL MVP in 1974 as the Dodgers made it to the World Series before losing to Oakland. Garvey is one of 29 Dodgers to finish with a career batting average higher than .300 with the team (.301). He is also ninth all-time in games played (1,727) for the Dodgers, 11th in runs (852), fifth in hits (1,968), third in doubles (333), sixth in homers (211) and fifth in runs batted in (992).

Los Angeles Dodgers
Garvey was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round of the 1968 MLB draft (June secondary phase). He made his Major League debut on September 1, 1969 at the age of 20. He had three plate appearances in 1969, all as a pinch hitter, and recorded his first hit on September 10, off Denny Lemaster of the Houston Astros. He played third base for the Dodgers in 1970 and hit his first home run on July 21, 1970, off Carl Morton of theMontreal Expos. He moved to first base in 1973 after the retirement of Wes Parker.
Garvey was part of the most enduring infield in baseball history along with third baseman Ron Cey, shortstop Bill Russell and second baseman Davey Lopes. The four infielders stayed together as the Dodgers’ starters for eight and a half years.
Garvey is one of only two players to have started an All-Star Game as a write-in vote, doing so in 1974. That year he won the NL MVP award, and had the first of six 200-hit seasons. Only 15 players in all of Major League Baseball history have had six or more 200 hit seasons (as of the end of 2010).

In the 1978 National League Championship Series, which the Dodgers won over the Philadelphia Phillies, Garvey hit four home runs, and added a triple for five extra base hits, both marks tying Bob Robertson’s 1971 NLCS record and earning him the League Championship Series Most Valuable Player Award; Jeffrey Leonard would tie the NLCS home run record in the 1987 NLCS.
With the Dodgers, Garvey played in 1,727 games over 14 seasons and hit .301 with 211 homers and 992 RBI. He was selected to eight All-Star Games, and won the All-Star Game MVP Award for the 1974 and 1978 games. He also won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award, finished in the top 10 in the NL MVP Award voting five times and won four straight Gold Glove Awards from 1974–1977.

San Diego Padres
In December 1982 Garvey signed with the Padres for $6.6 million over five years in what some felt was a “masterstroke” to General Manager Jack McKeon’s effort to rebuild the team. Though San Diego had vastly outbid the Dodgers, McKeon particularly noted Garvey’s value in providing a role model for younger players.Additionally, Garvey’s “box office appeal”—his impending departure from the Dodgers provoked some Girl Scouts to picket the stadium—helped San Diego increase its season ticket sales by 6,000 seats in Garvey’s first year. Sports Illustrated ranked the signing as the fifteenth best free agent signing ever as of 2008.

His first season in San Diego allowed him to break the National League’s record for consecutive games played, a feat that landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated as baseball’s “Iron Man.” (In an unusual homecoming, Garvey tied the record in his first appearance back at Dodger Stadium in Padre gold.)

It was Garvey’s second season in San Diego, however, that would provide his highlight in a Padres uniform. Led by Garvey, winning his second National League Championship SeriesMVP award, the Padres won their first National League pennant over the Chicago Cubs in 1984. Game 4, “the best game of the series, and one of the best games in memory”, provided a particularly notable effort by Garvey. His hot bat provided excellent insurance for the top of the order, including future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who drew an intentional walk that Garvey converted into one of his four crucial RBI. After supplying critical hits in the third, fifth, and seventh innings, Garvey capped off his efforts with a two-run walk-off home run off future all-time saves leader Lee Smith in the ninth inning. As he rounded third base, Garvey, who after the game would be compared by teammates to fictional baseball hero Roy Hobbs, was met by fellow Padres who later carried him off the field in celebration. Following the 7–5 Padres victory, grateful fans thronged against stadium barricades chanting Garvey’s name. Garvey, about to play in his fifth World Series, called the experience “the greatest playoffs I’ve ever seen.”

IVAN RODRIGUEZ

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Retired professional MLB player, which played at a competitive professional level for more than 24 years. No other catcher in the past 35 years has been as successful at this aspect of the game, with Rodríguez throwing out 48% of attempted base stealers through May 2006.His resume includes numerous achievements and awards, including:

- MLB’s all-time games leader as a catcher.
- 7-time silver slugger winner
- 13-time gold glove winner
- World series champion (Florida Marlins 2003)
- 2003 NLCS, 1999 MVP
- 14-time all-star
- TX Rangers Hall of fame
- TX Hall of Fame
-Latino Hall of Fame

He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on the week of August 4, 1997. This marked the fourth time a player from the Texas Rangers had been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Rodríguez played in the Puerto Rican Winter League yet again, where he had a .285 batting average, 4 home runs, and 18runs batted in over the course of 32 games playing for Caguas. In the 1998 season, Rodríguez led the Texas Rangers in batting average at .325, which placed eighth in the American League. He also had 75 multi-hit games and 186 hits, finishing seventh and ninth in MLB respectively. He finished second on the Rangers in hits, total bases, triples, and slugging percentage.

In 1999, Rodríguez was selected as the American League MVP. He set a new American League record for home runs in a single season among catchers with 35. Rodríguez was also the first catcher to have more than 30 home runs, 100 runs batted in, and 100 runs scored in the history of Major League Baseball. Rodríguez announced his retirement on April 23, 2012. His passion for baseball is so grand that he is still deeply involved with the Texas Rangers. He brings tons of experience to the Texas Rangers, and he has a ranging variety of responsibilities. His main role is to assist Texas Ranger’s General Manager, John Daniels, in managerial jobs as well as baseball strategy and planning. He is also involved with the coaching aspect; he works with different players, especially the catchers from the Major and Minor leagues alike. 

EDUARDO PEREZ

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GERALD YOUNG

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Gerald Anthony Young (born October 22, 1964 in Tela, Honduras) is a former professional baseball outfielder. He played all or part of eight seasons in Major League Baseball, primarily as a center fielder. He is the first person born in Honduras to play Major League Baseball. A 1982 graduate of Santa Ana Valley High School, Young was drafted in the 5th round of the 1982 MLB amateur draft by the New York Mets. He was, along with Rafael Palmeiro and Dwight Gooden, part of a draft class that set a major league record for a single team when 14 of those players reached the major leagues. Young was traded by the Mets to the Houston Astros on September 1, 1984, for third baseman Ray Knight, and made his major league debut with them on July 8, 1987.
He showed promise by hitting .321 and stealing 26 bases for the Astros, finishing 5th in National League Rookie of the Year voting despite playing less than half a season with the major league club. Young’s best season in the major leagues came the following year, 1988, when he finished 2nd in the NL with 65 steals. In 1989 he finished 8th in the league in steals (34) and accomplish a rare defensive feat by recording 412 putouts with only one error and adding 15 outfield assists. Young would spend the next three seasons splitting time between the Astros, their Triple A affiliate the Tucson Toros, and the disabled list (with an assortment of injuries). He was successful at the minor league level, always hitting over .300. At the end of the 1992 season, Young became a free agent, and he signed with, and became an inaugural member of the expansion Colorado Rockies team that began play in Major League Baseball in 1993. Young appeared in his final game on August 11, 1994, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.