Charlie Hustle The rise and fall of Pete Rose, and the last glory days of baseball

Keith O'Brien, 1973-

Book - 2024

"A page-turning work of narrative nonfiction chronicling the incredible story of one of America's most iconic, charismatic, and still polarizing figures, baseball immortal Pete Rose; and an exquisite cultural history of baseball and America in the second half of the twentieth century Pete Rose is a legend. A baseball god. He had compiled more hits than anyone in the history of baseball, a record he set decades ago, which still stands. At the same time, he was a working-class white guy from Cincinnati who made it; less talented than tough, and rough around the edges. He was everything that America wanted and needed him to be, the American dream personified, until he wasn't. In the 1980s Pete Rose came to be at the center of th...e biggest scandal in baseball history. Baseball no longer needed Pete Rose, and he was magnificently, publicly cast out for betting on baseball and lying about it. The revelations that followed ruined Pete, changed life in Cincinnati, and forever altered the game. Charlie Hustle tells the full story of one of America's most epic tragedies, the rise and fall of Pete Rose, one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Drawing on first-hand interviews with Pete himself, his associates, as well as on investigators, FBI and court records, archives, a mountain of press coverage, Keith O'Brien chronicles how Pete fell so far from being America's "great white hope." It is Rose as we've never seen before. This is no ordinary sport biography, but cultural history at its finest. What O'Brien shows is that while Pete Rose didn't change, America and baseball did. This is the story of that change"--

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor New Shelf 796.357092/Rose (NEW SHELF) Due Apr 30, 2024
New York : Pantheon Books [2024]
Main Author
Keith O'Brien, 1973- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
440 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 339-418) and index.
  • Act 1. Rise
  • Act 2. Shine
  • Act 3. Fame
  • Act 4. Fall
  • Act 5. Wreckage.
Review by Booklist Review

Fans know Pete Rose holds one of the most unattainable records in baseball--most career hits (4,256)--but it's easy to forget he shattered dozens of others, including most career at bats and games played. He won NL rookie of the year (1963) and NL MVP (1973), played 24 seasons and in 17 all-star games, won the esteemed Hutch and Roberto Clemente awards, and should have strolled into the Hall of Fame. O'Brien tells the far darker story of Rose's personal life: the decades of gambling, womanizing, lying, and lying about the lying--notably about his gambling on his own team's games as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. All of this runs like a lit fuse through Rose's life and career, finally blowing up his marriages, business associations, and friendships, and exiling him from the game he lived for. O'Brien's narrative is compelling, meticulously reported, and bolstered by interviews with many of the principals, including, for a while, Rose himself. In the end, as one commentator put it, Rose's personal story here is not tragic, but rather, just sad.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Sports biographies don't get much better than this enthralling and tragic account of the career of Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader. Sportswriter O'Brien (Paradise Falls) describes how Rose was pressed from an early age by his father (whose own dreams of a pro baseball career were never realized) to excel at sports. Despite being small for his age, Rose had an exceptional drive and passion that helped him excel on the citywide team he played with in his teens. After a few years in the minor leagues, Rose earned a spot on the Cincinnati Reds in 1963 and was named the National League's Rookie of the Year. The portrait that emerges is empathetic yet balanced, with breathless recaps of Rose's first championship season in 1975 and 44-game hitting streak in 1978 tempered by troubling discussions of his yearslong affair with an underage high schooler when he was in his 30s and the gambling addiction that left him barred from induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame (in 2004, Rose confirmed allegations that he bet on the Reds while playing for and managing the team in the 1980s). O'Brien movingly depicts Rose as an everyman who willed his own greatness only to succumb to his baser impulses, and the rich research draws on extensive interviews with players, federal investigators, and Rose himself. Definitive and elegantly told, this is a home run. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Mar.)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

An award-winning journalist tells the story of a baseball player who exhibited relentless hustle on and off the field. O'Brien, the author of Fly Girls and Outside Shot, delivers a gripping portrait of fellow Cincinnati native Pete Rose (b. 1941). The author paints a vivid portrait of the simultaneously glorious and reckless life of Major League Baseball's hit king, whose raw strength and work ethic symbolized baseball and the American dream itself, yet who gambled his way permanently out of baseball and its Hall of Fame, leaving a wake of bitter disappointment as he sped through life with the same air of tenacious invincibility that marked his play. O'Brien's meticulous style captures Rose's unlikely journey to his hometown Reds and his often complex relationships with teammates and opponents alike. Rose won every conceivable honor that a position player can win, but his addictions to gambling, women, and expensive cars belied his all-American image. O'Brien's construction of the book is brilliant, offering a thorough examination of Rose as a sort of baseball Janus: Rose took the mocking sobriquet given to him by Yankee royalty Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford as a badge of honor and never yielded on the field, but he conducted himself off the diamond as Charlie Hustler, a man who invited a rogues' gallery of hangers-on, gamblers, and drug dealers to his inner circle and ultimately doomed his legacy. O'Brien's work is so well researched and adheres to traditional journalistic standards in such a way that it is, by any objective measure, as fair as possible to all the principle figures, particularly Rose himself, whom the author interviewed several times. The text leaves little doubt that the definitive account of the life and times of Rose belongs to O'Brien. A masterpiece of a sports biography and a must-read for baseball fans. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.