suntimes
SPLENDID 
Weather Updates

Pete Rose Jr. hopes to bring love, passion to White Sox’ rookie-leaguers

TOnight’S MATCHUP

Sox at Royals,7:10, CSN+, 670-AM

Gavin Floyd (10-13, 4.08 ERA in 2010) vs. Luke Hochevar (0-1, 4.76 in 2011)

Floyd vs. Royals: 2-2, 4.73

Billy Butler 4-for-12, 2 RBI

Jason Kendall 5-for-11, 2 BB

Mike Aviles 4-for-11

Hochevar vs. Sox: 1-1, 3.65

Juan Pierre 3-for-6, BB

Gordon Beckham 2-for-5, 2 BB

Alex Rios 0-for-5

REST OF THE SERIES

1:10 p.m. WEDNESDAY, CSN, 670-AM | Mark Buehrle (1-0, 6.00) vs. Jeff Francis (0-0, 1.29)

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Just as his father always did, Pete Rose Jr. talks about the game he breathes, eats and sleeps like he’s going from first to third on a single. You quickly realize it will take a headfirst dive to slow him down.

Rose discusses his new job as the manager of the White Sox’ advanced rookie-ball team in Bristol, Va., with the same enthusiasm his famous father, Pete Sr., had as a player and manager. His eyes are shielded by sunglasses and covered by a black Sox cap, but if you peer closely enough, the love and passion for baseball he inherited from his dad are easily seen.

‘‘Petey,’’ as he is known, was the Cincinnati Reds batboy his father famously hugged and shed tears over after he broke Ty Cobb’s all-time record for hits in 1985.

As a player, Rose (two hits in 14 career major-league at-bats) came up 4,254 hits short of his dad. Now he’s trying to make it in managing, and the Sox are giving him his chance.

‘‘Do I want to manage in the big leagues? Absolutely,’’ Rose said in a recent talk with reporters at the Sox’ spring-training facility in Glendale, Ariz. ‘‘That’s the only reason I’m here. I think it would be great.’’

Rose’s motivation to get to the majors might be from having had enough of the minors. He played in them for 16 years, and a look at his numbers shows why he stayed so long: a .260 average with five organizations, including the Sox (1994-96). He also played seven seasons with numerous teams in the independent Northern and Atlantic leagues, including part of a season with the Joliet JackHammers.

‘‘I mean, all of that helps,’’ said Rose, 41. ‘‘I’ve played seven years of [Class] A ball, which is kind of unheard of. You tell guys on the bubble: ‘What are you going to do? Are you going to quit?’ There was never any quit in what I was going to do.

‘‘It was a plus for the simple reason that I’ve been the guy who didn’t make this roster. I’ve been released and all the other stuff. It boils down to if you want it bad enough, you just keep chasing, regardless of whether it’s the White Sox or the Dodgers or the Windy City Thunderbolts or the Long Island Ducks. You just keep playing and keep scratching, and good things will happen.’’

The bad things that happened to Rose’s father — betting on baseball, lying about it and tax-evasion issues, to name a few — tarnished his enormous achievements. Rose has made his share of missteps, too. He was indicted in 2005 for distributing gamma butyrolactone (GBL) to his Chattanooga Lookouts teammates during the late 1990s, pleaded guilty to the charge and got a one-month prison sentence. Rose admitted he used it to recover from a knee injury but denied distributing it. He called the prison time ‘‘your worst nightmare, and top it by 10 times.’’

Rose remains firmly behind his dad, from whom he learned through good times and bad.

‘‘You know, you get two aspects of it,’’ he said. ‘‘One, it really sucks for some of the stuff he has to go through. On the other hand, it’s amazing. I don’t think a normal or super-normal person would be able to do it. Going back through him chasing Cobb’s record, it was like nothing bothers him. He’s just that strong of a person, strong-willed, strong-minded. .  .  . It’s just, like, ‘Wow, I get to call him Dad,’ which is unbelievable.

‘‘It’s amazing. He’s going to be 70 next month. It’s really incredible. If I could have half of his mind, I would be pretty well off.’’

The Sox — particularly farm director Buddy Bell, who played when Rose’s dad was managing the Reds — saw enough of a baseball mind in Rose to give him the job in December. Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has observed it and likes how he’s using it.

‘‘I saw this kid working with the minor-league guys,’’ Guillen said. ‘‘He has a lot of enthusiasm. He wants to be good. I like the way he goes about teaching baseball.’’

‘‘I want to teach,’’ Rose said. ‘‘That’s what we are here for. We are here to help these kids.’’

Guillen had this piece of advice for Rose: ‘‘Don’t live in your father’s shadow. Make a name by yourself. It’s unfortunate if your name is Guillen, Rose, Jordan. .  .  . They’re going to say he’s Pete Rose’s son. Keep doing what you are doing and open your own doors. You’ll be fine.’’



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.