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Play Hungry
Cover of Play Hungry
Play Hungry
The Making of a Baseball Player
by Pete Rose
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A New York Times Bestseller
The inside story of how Pete Rose became one of the greatest and most controversial players in the history of baseball

Pete Rose was a legend on the field. As baseball's Hit King, he shattered records that were thought to be unbreakable. And during the 1970s, he was the leader of the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds team that dominated the game. But he's also the greatest player who may never enter the Hall of Fame because of his lifetime ban from the sport. Perhaps no other ballplayer's story is so representative of the triumphs and tragedies of our national pastime.
In Play Hungry, Rose tells us the story of how, through hard work and sheer will, he became one of the unlikeliest stars of the game. Guided by the dad he idolized, a local sports hero, Pete learned to play hard and always focus on winning. But even with his dad's guidance, Pete was cut from his team as a teenager—he wasn't a natural. Rose was determined, though, and never would be satisfied with anything less than success. His relentless hustle and headfirst style would help him overcome his limitations, leading him to one of the most exciting and brash careers in the history of the sport.
Play Hungry is Pete Rose's love letter to the game, and an unvarnished story of life on the diamond. One of the icons of a golden age in baseball, he describes just what it was like to hit (or try to hit) a Bob Gibson fastball or a Gaylord Perry spitball, what happened in that infamous collision at home plate during the 1970 All-Star Game, and what it felt like to topple Ty Cobb's hit record. And he speaks to how he let down his fans, his teammates, and the memory of his dad when he gambled on baseball, breaking the rules of a sport that he loved more than anything else. Told with candor and wry humor—including tales he's never told before—Rose's memoir is his final word on the glories and controversies of his life, and, ultimately, a master class in how to succeed when the odds are stacked against you.
A New York Times Bestseller
The inside story of how Pete Rose became one of the greatest and most controversial players in the history of baseball

Pete Rose was a legend on the field. As baseball's Hit King, he shattered records that were thought to be unbreakable. And during the 1970s, he was the leader of the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds team that dominated the game. But he's also the greatest player who may never enter the Hall of Fame because of his lifetime ban from the sport. Perhaps no other ballplayer's story is so representative of the triumphs and tragedies of our national pastime.
In Play Hungry, Rose tells us the story of how, through hard work and sheer will, he became one of the unlikeliest stars of the game. Guided by the dad he idolized, a local sports hero, Pete learned to play hard and always focus on winning. But even with his dad's guidance, Pete was cut from his team as a teenager—he wasn't a natural. Rose was determined, though, and never would be satisfied with anything less than success. His relentless hustle and headfirst style would help him overcome his limitations, leading him to one of the most exciting and brash careers in the history of the sport.
Play Hungry is Pete Rose's love letter to the game, and an unvarnished story of life on the diamond. One of the icons of a golden age in baseball, he describes just what it was like to hit (or try to hit) a Bob Gibson fastball or a Gaylord Perry spitball, what happened in that infamous collision at home plate during the 1970 All-Star Game, and what it felt like to topple Ty Cobb's hit record. And he speaks to how he let down his fans, his teammates, and the memory of his dad when he gambled on baseball, breaking the rules of a sport that he loved more than anything else. Told with candor and wry humor—including tales he's never told before—Rose's memoir is his final word on the glories and controversies of his life, and, ultimately, a master class in how to succeed when the odds are stacked against you.
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  • Library Journal

    February 1, 2019

    Though one of baseball's greats (see those three World Series Championships), Rose claims that he didn't start out a natural, and he may never make the Hall of Fame owing to his lifetime ban from the sport for betting. A life in baseball, both triumphant and tragic.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2019
    One of the most talented--and controversial--players in the history of Major League Baseball shares his life story.When Rose (b. 1941) set his on-field records during the 1970s and '80s, he became famous for his high-energy performances as well as his tough-guy brashness. He opens the book by noting, "my dad taught me that nothing mattered more than winning." Later, he earned a different sort of renown: for his gambling on the outcomes of games, which led to the sport's commissioner banning Rose from the game. So far, the ban has blocked his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Based solely on performance, Rose, the game's all-time hits leader, is one of the most deserving Hall of Fame candidates in history, and controversy about whether his apparently victimless gambling should prohibit his entry might never end. The author addresses his gambling and the ban it yielded in a few pages toward the end of the book, and the tone of those pages is difficult to characterize; it's a cryptic tumble of sentences that is half apology and half defiance. As for the remainder of the book, Rose builds the explanation of his successes and his quirks around the influence of his father, who held a day job in Cincinnati but became best known locally for his semiprofessional athletic prowess. Over and over the author describes how his father emphasized winning for the team no matter the physical and emotional costs. From his early childhood, Rose felt confident that he would reach professional baseball even though the odds are extremely slim for anyone. Unfortunately, the narrative is marred by an absurd amount of repetition regarding the author's macho nature and his immodesty about his hard-won skills. But when he tones down the attitude, his recollections about baseball--and life off the field--yield rewards for readers.In a baseball memoir filled with plenty of strikes and balls, Rose offers abundant evidence of why he has become a touchstone of controversy.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 8, 2019
    Rose, the former Cincinnati Reds player and manager who was banned from baseball life for gambling, offers a bitingly candid reflection on his life in baseball. Just as his fans (or detractors) might expect, he’s witty and brash, but he also displays unexpected earnestness, especially about the love for his father and his upbringing in a poor family in 1940s and ’50s Cleveland, Ohio. Noting that the “only book I ever read cover to cover” was a baseball rule book, Rose drives home the importance of baseball in his life. Throughout, he highlights the memorable events in his career, including his 1963 season (when he was named Rookie of the Year), and his three batting awards and World Series wins. He doesn’t shy from the low points, such as getting cut from an American Legion team at age 15; being told in his rookie year by Reds management to stop hanging out with black players (he ignored them); and his ban for illegally betting on his team as a player-manager. Readers expecting tawdry details will find instead a man who acknowledges his mistake in a chapter titled, “I Blew It, I Know That.” Rose closes by describing the pride in watching his son follow in his steps as a ball player. With this frank, no-holds-barred narrative, Rose just might win new fans.

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