Next in line for a 1971 “Minor League Days” card in my long-running sub-set is the great Pete Rose, a Hall of Famer in my book, who was tearing up D-League pitching in 1961 as a member of the Tampa Tarpons:
The 20-year-old Rose ended up hitting .331 for the Tarpons, with 160 hits in 484 at-bats over 130 games, but what was extraordinary were his 30 triples, along with 20 doubles, 77 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases.
The man was on a mission, and with one more year of Minor League ball in 1962, he was ready to take the Majors by storm in 1963, which would end up with him taking home the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Of course, all he did after that was win three batting titles, an MVP Award in 1973, become a key part of a juggernaut with the “Big Red Machine” Reds of the 1970’s that led to two World Championships, and of course being named the Sporting News “Player of the Decade” for the 1970’s.
In the ten years spanning 1970-1979, he was on two world champion teams, four pennant winners, had six 200-hit seasons, and lead his league in no less than 13 offensive categories!
And that's not all: in NINE of those years he received Most Valuable Player consideration, taking home the award as I stated earlier in 1973.
As a player, the man was incredible. A Hall of Famer. The all-time hit leader in Major League baseball’s 150+ year history.