SURE TO BE A HIT

Pete Rose to offer instruction, advice to young players at Hit King Academy in Katy today

Pete Rose is one of the all-time great hitters. Getty Images

Baseball kids in the Houston area can get batting tips tonight from a former big leaguer who, let's say, knocked a few hits in his time.
Well, more than a few.

Actually, more than anybody in the history of baseball.

Pete Rose has more hit records than the Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift combined. Like a game of pickle, here's the rundown:

Most hits (4,256). Most singles (3,215). Most games played (3,562). Most at bats (14,053). Seventeen All-Star Games. Three batting titles. Two Gold Gloves. One MVP. And a partridge …

Rose will set up shop in the batting cage at his “Hit King Academy” on Clay Road in Katy and give individual pointers to players. There will be two sessions: 4:30 – 6 p.m. for ages 8-13, and 7 – 8:30 p.m. for 14 and older. Both sessions will include question-and-answer time and autographs for players and their parents.

The price is $50 per player, with half-off for additional siblings. To register, email plamarr@hitkingbaseball.com or click on hitkingbaseball.com for more information.

I spent some time “talking baseball” with Rose on Sunday night. I asked what was his motivation for putting on this clinic and opening the Hit King Baseball facility.

“I’m doing this simply because I watch two or three games a day. I’m tired of seeing guys play fundamentally unsound baseball,” Rose said. “We’ve got to teach these kids, at a very early age, the right way to play the game of baseball. If you play the right way, you’ve got a better chance of winning.

“Our academy is all about winning. If the guy is a home run hitter, I’m not going to take that away from him. If the guy is a singles hitter, we’re not to change that, either. But they must learn that the more times they put the ball in play, the better their chances are of getting on base. The more times they’re on base, the better their chances are of scoring runs. It all leads to winning games.

“The big thing about me is, my first year in the minors, we won the championship. My second year, we won the championship. When I got the to the big leagues, I expected to win the championship. That’s the way I was raised. Winning and being positive are good habits, just like losing and being negative are bad habits.”

Think fantasy camp for kids: one-on-one batting instruction from the legend who did it better – certainly more - than anybody. Ever. Whatever troubles and self-inflicted scandals followed him, Rose undeniably is the Hit King. As humorist James Thurber - or maybe it was Yogi Berra - said, "you could look it up."

I didn't meet a pro baseball player until I was an adult. I played third base in charity softball game in Phoenix. The left fielder was former New York Met Ron Swoboda. I thought he broke my hand when he gunned down a runner trying to stretch a double into a triple. I asked Rose, who was the first big leaguer you met?

“I was raised three miles from Crosley Field (home of the Cincinnati Reds from 1912 to 1970). The big weekends for me and my family was when the Brooklyn Dodgers came to town. Don Zimmer, one of the Dodgers, grew up in Cincinnati. He even had some of the same Little League coaches as me,” Rose said.

“In those days, the visitors’ clubhouse was in a separate building behind the stadium. When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I'd wait outside the clubhouse for Don Zimmer to come out. Even though I was a Reds fan, and Ted Kluzewski was my favorite player, Don Zimmer was the first Major Leaguer I met. Not only did Don talk to me, he introduced me to Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella and the other Dodger greats. That was pretty cool and I've never forgotten it."

The Pete Rose Hit King Academy enters its second year in midst of heavy construction and expansion plans in Katy.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston Texans owner Cal McNair and general manager Nick Caserio will meet with Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy Monday via Zoom to discuss the Texans head coaching vacancy. This may be the Texans last, best prayer of keeping star quarterback Deshaun Watson.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, many in the NFL believe that Watson already has taken his last snap in a Texans uniform.

Watson reportedly is angered because he believes the Texans promised he would be involved in the hiring search for the team's new general manager, a job which ultimately went to Caserio without input from Watson and contrary to the advice of a professional search company. McNair's decision to hire Caserio reportedly was steered by controversial team executive Jack Easterby, who has gained enormous power and influence in the Texans organization.

Involving a player in the hire of a general manager is rare in the NFL. League experts are hard-pressed to recall a similar situation. Still, Watson believes he was disrespected and tension between Watson and management was inflamed when legendary Texans player Andre Johnson tweeted that Easterby is to blame for Watson-McNair estrangement, and practically every other problem within the organization.

One step in resolving the situation with Watson would be to allow the quarterback to participate in the Zoom interview with Bieniemy, who is Watson's preferred choice to be the next Texans head coach. Bieniemy comes with the endorsement of Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs record-breaking quarterback and friend of Watson.

Of course, after Bieniemy was left off the Texans' list of candidates for the job, who knows if Bieniemy even wants the job in Houston now?

Watson and Johnson aren't the only current and former Texans who have expressed unhappiness with the teams' direction.

Offensive tackle Tytus Howard was open about his reaction concerning the way Texans front office has gone about dealing with Watson.

Former Texans star wideout DeAndre Hopkins gave his two cents about the mismanagement of Watson - something Hopkins experienced firsthand.

Now the Texans fan base (translation: Deshaun Watson fan base) planned a march to support the quarterback.

There have even been petitions to have Jack Easterby fired.

Watson, being the true professional and blossoming icon of the NFL asked fans to end the march, citing COVID-19 protocols.

One thing is certain. There is only one person holding up the fanbase of the Houston Texans organization engulfed in a dumpster fire: Deshaun Watson.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome