On May 5, 1978, Pete Rose singled off Montreal Expos starter Steve Rogers at Riverfront Stadium to become the 13th member of the 3000-hit club.

It was cause for celebration, and you can be sure the baseball world took note … but baseball cards? Not so much.

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See …

Pete Rose was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in the game during the 1970s and 1980s (1960s, too).

Most of the time, his big moments were commemorated in cardboard, especially as we turned the corner into the 1980s and Pete turned the corner in his assault on Ty Cobb’s all-time record for hits.

But Rose didn’t always get his cardboard due for the milestones he was knocking down.

Now, even as Pete was dashing to first base for number 3000, collectors held in their hands a 1978 Topps Record Breaker card (#5) that celebrated Charlie Hustle becoming the all-time hits leader among switch hitters in 1977.

And in 1979, we’d get another Rose record breaker — card #204 in the Topps set, marking Rose’s 44-game hitting streak in 1978, a new National League record. That streak began a bit over a month after his 3000th hit.

But number 3000 got no cardboard love at all, even though Lou Brock and Carl Yastrzemski shared a “Highlights” card to lead off the 1980 Topps set after they both reached that same milestone in 1979.

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And that’s probably the rub for Pete and 3000 — Record Breakers v. Highlights.

Some years, Topps went for Record Breakers, some years they went for merely Highlights — the latter probably came into play when there weren’t many high-profile records to, um, record.

So, that 1979 Topps set that marked record-breaking performances like Rose’s hitting streak, J.R. Richard’s strikeouts by a righthander, and John Stearns’ stolen bases by a catcher, simply had no room for a meager “highlight” such as 3000 hits.

Of course, there’s no need to cry for Rose or his fans, because Pete swallowed up plenty of cardboard with his accomplishments (and mug) over the next decade or so before his ultimate fall.

Still, the lack of a 3000-hit card for the Hit King is an interesting hobby footnote.

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1978 Topps #20 Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds PSA 10 GEM MINT

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1965 Topps #207 Pete Rose HOF (Crease)

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1974 Topps Pete Rose Cincinnati Reds #300

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