These late days of August once belonged to Pete Rose, the most prolific hitter in Major League Baseball history. If Ernie Banks used to say “let’s play two” on beautiful summer days, Rose–aka Charlie Hustle–would suggest three or four. One of the most aggressive players of all time, Rose missed baseball so much when he retired that he needed some extra juice–that’s what he says–so in addition to managing his old Cincinnati Reds, he bet on them. You’re really, really not supposed to do that, and it resulted in Rose being banned completely from baseball. It’s been 25 years and Pete Rose is still on the outside. Rose and his MLB record 4,256 hits can’t even visit the Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose told CNN he no longer gambles. And it must take all his Charlie Hustle determination not to–because he spends about 20 days a month in Las Vegas, autographing anything people will buy and posing for pictures with his faithful. (Las Vegas is an excellent place to meet people who don’t cast stones at gamblers!) Rose is 73 and holds out hope the ban will one day be lifted. He’s doing all he can. Sometimes he signs a baseball like this: “I’m sorry I bet on baseball. Pete Rose.”