Rose Sees Role as Infrequent Hitter

Pete Rose said he'll probably take a few more swings this season, but if he doesn't, he won't have any regrets.

"People never did understand," the Cincinnati manager told Steve Marcus of Newsday. "They thought I was just a wild animal who would never quit playing." Won't he miss the action?

"I'm not going to put myself out there if it's not going to help my team," he said. "If we lose, they're not gonna fire Dave Parker, they're going to fire me. If I never get another at-bat, I won't have to feel ashamed. I won't miss it because I played every game like it was my last."

Rose will be 46 on April 14.

"The only guy playing at my age is Phil Niekro," said Rose, "and I'm too old to learn how to pitch."

He said he probably will announce his official retirement at the end of the season.

"I want to get into the Hall of Fame before I die," he said.

From Marty Noble of Newsday: "When will Bill Buckner stop blaming others for the Red Sox's downfall in Game 6 of the World Series? He says that even if he had fielded Mookie Wilson's grounder, pitcher Bob Stanley wouldn't have beaten Wilson to first base, so the Sox would have lost anyway. Buckner somehow forgets that Ray Knight was on second base when Wilson hit the ground ball. If Buckner merely had stopped the ball, Knight wouldn't have scored from second."

Add Noble: He quotes Angel Manager Gene Mauch as saying of rookie second baseman Mark McLemore: "He catches balls that haven't been caught here in years."

Said Noble: "Bobby Grich will appreciate hearing that."

Trivia Time: What member of the New York Yankees has hit the most home runs in the last four years? (Answer below.)

Providence assistant basketball coach Gordon Chiesa, on the Friars' pressing defense: "We call it the mother-in-law defense--constant pressure and harassment."

Said Portland Trail Blazer center Steve Johnson, explaining why Boston and Salt Lake City are his least favorite cities: "The people in Boston are so arrogant, and Salt Lake City is too quiet. I hate it. People tell me how pretty Salt Lake is. I think it's ugly. There's all that stagnant water there."

USC basketball Coach George Raveling, on the difficulty of gaining attention in Los Angeles: "There's a lot going on here. When my Washington State team used to come down here, I would pray to win. But people would tell me the Lord was at the Lakers' game."

From Peter King of Newsday: "Mike Ditka told writers at the NFL winter meetings that he'd bet any of them $10,000 that William Perry would weigh 310 by the time the season opens. He's around 330 now. 'That guy's going to have a great season,' Ditka said."

Ron Gardenhire's lament on leaving the New York Mets' organization: "I didn't get a ring, and I didn't even get a chance to write a book like everyone else. It was going to be a great book, too--"Life on the DL."

Trivia Answer: Ron Kittle. Not only has he hit more than any other Yankee, but he and Boston's Jim Rice, with 114 apiece, have hit more than anyone else in the American League.

Quotebook

Philadelphia pitcher Kent Tekulve, on the addition of 6-foot 3-inch, 230-pound catcher Lance Parrish: "I don't care how he hits. I just want him around for the fights."

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