Commentary

The (futile) chase of Pete Rose

Ichiro's time in Japan thwarted him, and other current players are big long shots

Originally Published: September 10, 2010
By Dan Szymborski | Baseball Think Factory
Getty ImagesSay what you want about Pete Rose, but he had remarkable consistency as a hitter.

The 25th anniversary of hit No. 4,192 for Pete Rose is upon us, and the Cincinnati Reds will be holding a ceremony. Almost fitting for a player who became so controversial at the end of his career, there's even disagreement about when exactly Rose broke Cobb's record -- analyst Pete Palmer found in the early 1980s that Cobb had been credited with two additional hits in 1910.

Whether Rose took the hit crown at 4,192 or 4,190, what's indisputable is the sheer difficulty of his feat. In an age less conducive to high batting averages than Cobb's time, Rose put up a final tally -- 4,256 -- that looks just as difficult today as it did a quarter-century ago.

Do any of today's players have what it takes to catch Rose? To answer this question, I did long-term projections for every active player with 1,000 hits (including Joe Mauer, who is just below that line) and, using ZiPS, modeled the likelihood of each player getting 4,257 hits for his career.