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Floyd County

April 5, 2014

KING OF SWING: Pete Rose touts social media company during Southern Indiana stop

JEFFERSONVILLE — Donning a Big Red Machine cap, the man with the most hits in Major League Baseball history only spoke for about 15 minutes, but his stories spanned a lifetime of dreams, struggle and success.

Addressing a group of about 75 potential investors and business leaders, Pete Rose appeared on behalf of the startup web company at Kye’s in Jeffersonville on Thursday.

Rose — who was a star for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s and also played for the Montreal Expos and Philadelphia Phillies — talked about his ban from the MLB Hall of Fame due to gambling, and accepted responsibility for his actions.

But most of his time was spent discussing his Hall of Fame worthy career, as he fielded questions from audience members about specific competitors that stuck out in his mind, and what the game meant to him.

The best pitcher Rose ever faced during his career? Juan Marichal, though Rose said Bob Gibson was the most competitive.

It’s not like Rose didn’t have a pretty prolific group to choose from.

“I faced 19 Hall of Fame pitchers,” Rose said.

He crowned former Red Ted Kluszewski as his favorite baseball player, and also paid respect to today’s game.

“There’s a lot of good players out there. There’s a lot of good teams,” Rose said.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout is the best player in the game, according to Rose, who added that Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen is the top player in the National League.

Reds slugger Joey Votto is the best hitter in the NL, and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is the top guy in the game in Rose’s view.

Of course, he knows more than a thing or two about hitting. Rose retired with 4,256 hits, which remains the most in MLB history, and has the most total bases for a switch hitter with 5,752.

He played his last game in 1986, and was banned from MLB in 1989 for gambling on baseball. In 1991, the Baseball Hall of Fame agreed to ban anyone on the permanently ineligible list from being inducted into Cooperstown.

“I’m the one who screwed it up,” said Rose when asked by an audience member about whether he’d given up on MLB Commissioner Bud Selig removing his ban.

Rose joked that the next commissioner may view his situation in the same way as Selig has, but he said he remains positive in his business and private life.

Rose — who earned the nickname “Charlie Hustle” for his effort and exuberance on the field — said he watches three baseball games a day and remains in contact with many players.

He said he spoke with Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton — who has struggled at the plate early in the 2014 season after gaining the starting spot — on Thursday and told him to stay positive.

“I said Billy, relax, I went 0-for-16 to start,” he said.

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