End of Streak at 44 Left Rose in Fit of Pique

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the 58 years since Joe DiMaggio put together his 56-game hitting streak, the best run at that record was achieved by Pete Rose.

And it ended at 44 games 21 years ago tonight.

DiMaggio's record, it seemed, was safe for another 50 years or so.

Rose had an odd reaction after Atlanta pitchers Larry McWilliams and Gene Garber had collared him with a 0-for-4 night. He seemed angry that the two were bent on getting him out.

"Garber was pitching like it was the seventh game of the World Series," Rose groused.

When told of Rose's remark, Garber replied, "I had an idea Pete was hitting like it was the last game of the World Series."

Rose, who was batting .267 when he began the streak, was up to .313 when it ended. At 44 games, he had tied the National League record set by Wee Willie Keeler in 1897. The streak was over when Rose struck out in the ninth inning on a 2-and-2 pitch by Garber.

In the first, against McWilliams, he'd walked. In the third, Rose hit a line drive that McWilliams speared. Rose bounced out to short in the fifth against McWilliams.

In the seventh against Garber, Rose hit a liner to third baseman Bob Horner, who turned it into a double play.

Was he glad it was over?

"No, I'm not relieved, I'm teed off," Rose snarled. "I guess it is a load off my shoulders. What more appropriate way to end it than to end it at 44 in Atlanta!"

Home run champion Henry Aaron wore jersey No. 44 for the Braves.

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Also on this date: In 1932, at the Coliseum, Eddie Tolan of Detroit became the first black athlete to win a gold medal in an Olympic running event when he beat Ralph Metcalfe in a photo finish in the 100 meters. . . . In 1977, Willie McCovey hit his 18th and final grand slam. . . . In 1994, Cal Ripken Jr. joined Lou Gehrig as baseball's only players to have played in 2,000 consecutive games. . . . In 1995, doctors revealed that Mickey Mantle's cancer had spread from his liver to his lungs. He had undergone a liver transplant June 28.

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