Pete Rose's all-time hits record is safe. Just ask Pete Rose.
The 71-year-old, who is baseball's career hits leader with 4,256 and who was banned from the sport for gambling, said in a recent interview on Sports On Earth that he doesn't think Derek Jeter will be able to catch him.
“I don't think he will break the record,” Rose said. “First of all, I don't think he wants to leave the Yankees. And the Yankees, they're about winning. Jeter had a great year this year, but he's what? Thirty-eight years old? And he's a shortstop? How many 40-year-old shortstops you see walking around? Not too many, right? And they can't put him at third because [Alex Rodriguez is] there. They can't put him at second 'cause [Robinson] Cano's there. He don't help them in left field – he's got to be in the center of things, you know what I mean? What are they going to do? Put him at first base?”
Jeter is currently in 10th place on the all-time list with 3,304 hits. He posted the eighth-highest average of his 18-year career, .316, during the 2012 season. But Rose doesn't expect that to continue.
“I don't think he can get 200 more hits at 41, but let's say he does,” Rose said. “OK, now he's 42. He's gonna get 200 more hits then? At 42? Let me tell you, I've been there, the body locks up. Jeter's a great hitter. I'd say he hits like I did. But he's gonna get 200 hits when he's 42? I don't think he will. And even if he does all that, he's STILL 150 hits short.”
But though he believes that “time's running out” for Jeter to approach his record, Rose complemented the Yankee shortstop's work ethic, while also taking time to praise A-Rod.
“For that matter, do you ever see A-Rod not run out a ground ball?” Rose said. “Every time I see A-Rod play, I see a guy who runs it out. I see a guy who plays hard every game. People say all these things about the guy, but from where I'm sitting he plays the game hard. I don't know what it is that some people want from a guy. Do you play the game hard? That's what I'm asking.”