Pete Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits, games played, and at-bats. He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also made 17 All-Star appearances at an unequaled five different positions. These stats rank him among the greatest ball players ever, and though he was permanently banned from baseball in 1989, Rose certainly posted some Hall of Fame numbers. However, one of “Charlie Hustle’s” greatest stats will never be mentioned on ESPN or be seen on the back of a baseball card. One of his most shining moments will probably never be known to him at all.
On a cool spring evening in April in Prestonsburg, Kentukcy, Riverview Employee Care Partner Jerri had the grand opportunity to escort one of our elders, Jesse, to the Mountain Arts Center for “An Evening with Pete Rose.” Jesse grew up an ordinary girl in Kentucky with a love for family, faith, and the simple things of life. She made mention one day about another love she had–the Cincinnati Reds, especially Pete Rose. She stated how she adored him when she was younger and it was her lifelong dream to meet “Charlie Hustle.” As chance would have it, not more than a week later it was announced to the community that the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg would host “An Evening with Pete Rose.” As you could imagine, this news was overwhelming to someone whose lifelong dream was to meet him. Many people might think since Jesse lives in a nursing home that this opportunity came a little too late, but here at Riverview life continues for our elders and dreams come true. As Jerri stated, “I’ve always wanted to work in a place like this and make a difference in people’s lives…help make their dreams come true.”
When Jesse arrived that night and the program got underway, she sat in awe, amazed at the sight of her lifelong hero. She never took her eyes off of him, she laughed at his corny jokes, and hung on every word that fell from his lips. In her mind’s eye he still looked as young and strong as he did in the prime of his career. She said, “He’s just as handsome and good looking as he always was.” The sense of fulfillment inside of Jesse that night was clear. As they returned to Riverview later that night, Jesse assured Jerri, “I’ll never be able to repay you for what you’ve done for me tonight. It truly was my biggest dream to see Pete Rose and you helped make my dream come true.”
I often wonder when people are able to achieve such greatness and accomplish great things in their lives and careers if they ever stop to think about how many people they have touched along the way that they will never even know about. Pete Rose certainly had a career that will likely be unmatched, and though his picture may be permanently banned from Cooperstown, it hangs proudly now in Jesse’s room. More important than all the hits this all-time hit leader had in his career was the night he hit a home run with Jesse!
Phillip R. Ramey
Director of Spirituality – Riverview HealthCARE
Certified Eden Educator/Eden Mentor