Synopses & Reviews
"Kennedy's book on the tarnished and enigmatic Rose is exceptional. Like the best writing about sport--Liebling, Angell--it qualifies as stirring literature. I'd read Kennedy no matter what he writes about." --Richard Ford
Pete Rose played baseball with a singular and headfirst abandon that endeared him to fans and peers, even as it riled others--a figure at once magnetic, beloved and polarizing. Rose has more base hits than anyone in history, yet he is not in the Hall of Fame. Twenty-five years ago he was banished from baseball for gambling, then ruled ineligible for Cooperstown; today, the question "Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame?" has evolved into perhaps the most provocative in sports, a layered, slippery and ever-relevant moral conundrum.
How do we evaluate the Hit King now, at a time when steroid cheats appear on the Hall of Fame ballot even as Rose is denied? What do we make of this happily unrepentant gambler, this shameless but beguiling showman whose postbaseball journey has led him to a curious reality show and to the streets of Cooperstown to hawk his signature, his story, himself?
Best-selling author Kostya Kennedy delivers an evocative answer in his fascinating re-examination of Pete Rose's life; from his cocky and charismatic early years through his storied playing career to his bitter war against baseball's hierarchy to the man we find today--still incorrigible, still adored by many. Where has his improbable saga landed him in the redefined, post-steroid world? Do we feel any differently about Pete Rose today? Should we?
"One of the most controversial and defiant baseball personalities of all time receives a piercing scrutiny by Kennedy, assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated, who tracks the firebrand from his Cincinnati childhood to his heralded rookie season of 1963 with the hometown Reds. Rose, according to Kennedy, emerges as a walking contradiction, a hard worker on the field with a singular goal of excellence, a consistent .300 hitter with dramatic headlong slides and acrobatic catches, but also a bad-boy with the press who occasionally got into trouble after hours. As a part of the 'Big Red Machine,' Rose put up impressive statistics and holds the record of MLB all-time hits leader alongside three World Series rings, two Gold Gloves, and three batting titles, during a playing career that ran from 1963 to 1986. However, Kennedy doesn't shy away from the banished ex-player's gambling addiction and the infamous Dowd report that eventually got him thrown out of the game, in the middle of the 1989 season when he was serving as the Cincinnati manager. Included are Rose's poor career choices, his roving eye for the ladies despite marital obligations, and the beleaguered, unsuccessful quest to reach the baseball Hall of Fame. Piecing together the raging firestorm of disappointment, fraud, prison time, and hustling in Rose's checkered life, Kennedy's ambitious account is an anecdote-rich read." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kostya Kennedy is an assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated and the New York Times bestselling author of 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports, winner of the 2011 Casey Award and runner-up for the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He lives with his wife and children in Westchester County, N.Y. To learn more, visit kostyakennedy.com.