Rose set the record on September 11, 1985, with single against Eric Show of the San Diego Padres at Riverfront Stadium. At the time, Rose was player-manager of the Reds after returning to Cincinnati in August of 1984.
That hit gave Rose 4192 hits, eclipsing the former mark of 4191 held by Detroit Tigers Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.
Subsequent research has amended Cobb’s hit total to 4189, which remains the American League record.
St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial held the National League record with 3630 hits until Rose surpassed him during the strike-shortened 1981 season.
Most Hits in a Season
While Rose was the most prolific hitter in MLB history, his career-high single-season total was 230, achieved in 1973 when he won the National League Most Valuable Player award for the Reds.
That’s an impressive mark, but it’s tied for just 36th all-time on the single-season hits list.
Up at the top is Ichiro Suzuki, who set the all-time mark with 262 hits for the Seattle Mariners in 2004. That eclipsed George Sisler’s 257 safeties for the 1920 St. Louis Browns, the previous record.
The National League record for hits in a season belongs to Lefty O’Doul, who collected 254 for the 1929 Philadelphia Phillies.
Hammer Hits ‘Em
Although he never held the all-time MLB or league records for career hits, former (and some say current) all-time home run leader Hank Aaron merits special mention here.
In 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, Aaron collected 3600 hits (733 of them home runs), falling just shy of Musial’s NL mark.
The Braves traded Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers after the 1974 season, and he collected another 171 hits with the Brew Crew in 1975 and 1976 combined.
His grand total of 3771 hits stood as the second-highest mark, behind Cobb’s record, until Rose surpassed him in 1982.