The story was titled Charlie Hustle Gives Twelve Dimes On The Dollar, the issue date was May 27, 1968, and it was the first time Pete Rose, already in his sixth major league season, appeared on an SI cover. But Rose has made up for lost time. Since then he has hustled his way onto our cover 11 more times, including the one for this issue, which is devoted in considerable part to his quest for Ty Cobb's career record for hits.
"I've always found Rose endlessly fascinating," says baseball editor Steve Wulf, who wrote three of the cover stories. "He's constantly fresh."
Indeed, our past cover stories have documented Rose's perennially youthful enthusiasm for the summer game:
?"There is within him some rare form of self-propulsion that lifts him up to peaks of imaginary mountains he builds in front of himself." (1968)
?" 'I give 110%. I don't give just 100% because some guy opposite me might be giving that much. If you have a guy equal in ability to me, I'm gonna beat him because I'll try harder. That guy ain't got a chance.' " (1975)
?" 'I just don't want the players on this team to put on the uniform on Sept. 30 and say I'm glad I don't have to put this on tomorrow. I want them to say I can't wait to put this uniform on next spring.' " (1984)
Rose ranks No. 6 on the alltime SI cover-appearance list behind Muhammad Ali (29 times), Jack Nicklaus (21), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Arnold Palmer (14) and Bill Walton (14). And that 1975 cover alluded to above was a special one: On that occasion he appeared as our Sportsman of the Year.