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Penguin: Adult Hardcover & Trade Paperback Summer 2019

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Play Hungry
The Making of a Baseball Player
By (author): Pete Rose
9780525558675 Hardcover English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Sports Jun 04, 2019
$37.00 CAD
Active 6.36 x 9.53 x 1.03 in 304 pages 1-16PP 4/C INSERT Penguin Press
The story of how Pete Rose became one of the greatest and most controversial players in the history of baseball

Pete Rose was a legend on the field. As baseball’s Hit King, he shattered hitting records that were thought to be unbreakable. And during the 1970s, he was the leader of the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds teams that dominated the game. But he’s also the greatest player who may never make the Hall of Fame because of his lifetime ban from the sport. Perhaps no other athlete’s story is so representative of the triumphs and tragedies of our national pastime.

In Play Hungry, Rose tells us the story of how through hard work and sheer will he became one of the unlikeliest stars of the game. Guided by the dad he idolized, a local sports hero with the spirit of a champion, Pete had an All-American boyhood. But even with the coaching of his father on how to compete and play baseball the right way, Pete was cut from his team as a teenager—he wasn’t a natural. Rose was determined, though, and never would be satisfied with anything less than success. His relentless hustle and headfirst style would help him overcome his natural shortcomings, leading to a storied career including the Rookie of the Year Award, three batting titles, the MVP Award, and three World Series Championships.

Play Hungry is Pete Rose’s love letter to the game, and an inside story of life on the diamond. He is one of the last players from a golden age in baseball, and he describes just what it was like to hit (or try to hit) a Bob Gibson fastball or a Gaylord Perry spitball, what happened in that infamous collision at home plate during the 1970 All-Star Game, and what it felt like to topple Ty Cobb’s hit record. And finally, he speaks to how he let down his fans, his teammates, and the memory of his dad when he gambled on baseball, breaking the rules of a sport that he loved more than anything else in his life. Told with candor and wry humor, Rose’s memoir is his final word on the glories and controversies of his life, including tales he’s never told before, and a master class in how to succeed when the odds are stacked against you.

Story Locale: Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Montreal

A GIANT OF THE GAME: Rose was a legend on the field, and an unforgettable and flawed character off the field. He’s the all-time leader for hits and games played, and no one has won more games as a professional athlete than Rose.

ONE OF THE SPORT’S GREAT CHARACTERS: Love him or hate him, Rose is one of the most singular, magnetic, and polarizing men in the history of baseball. He’ll likely be the greatest player not to make the Hall of Fame since Shoeless Joe Jackson. But what makes this memoir so special is how entertaining and candid his voice is on the page.

STORIES FROM A GOLDEN AGE: Rose dishes on what it was like to hit (or try to hit) a Koufax curveball or Bob Gibson fastball, what it was like in the early days of desegration in baseball, and what he learned about hitting from DiMaggio. He’s a link to a golden age of baseball, and he tells these stories like no else can.

A FATHER-SON TALE: The core of Rose’s life was his father who gave Pete invaluable lessons about how to succeed and to achieve greatness. The bond between the two makes this a perfect Father’s Day gift, and a book that many fathers and sons will relate to.

PRACTICAL ADVICE: Rose wasn’t considered naturally gifted, but he achieved greatness through hard work and an iron will. There’s a great deal to be learned from his work ethic and his approach on the field.

Pete Rose grew up in Cincinnati and went on to star for the hometown Reds and later the Philadelphia Phillies. He holds the all-time baseball records for most hits in a career (4,256), most singles (3,215), most games played (3,562), most at-bats (14,053) and most outs. Rose made his major-league debut for the Reds in April 1963, a week before his twenty-second birthday, earning Rookie of the Year honors that season, and he was forty-five when he made his last major-league appearance in August 1986, also for the Reds. He appeared in seventeen different All-Star Games, and played on three teams that won the World Series. Rose won three batting titles and one Most Valuable Player Award. In August 1989, Rose received a lifetime ban from baseball for betting on the game, rendering him ineligible for the Hall of Fame.

Author Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Marketing: Online advertising campaign

Outreach to baseball and sports fans

Comprehensive online and social media campaign

Publicity: National media campaign

National and regional reviews and feature coverage

Radio satellite tour

Sports media and feature coverage

Author events

Op-eds at publication

Author Website:

Author Social Media: Twitter: @PeteRose_14 (68.9k followers); Facebook: @OfficialPeteRose14 (99k followers)

“An eloquent plea for reinstatement…[Rose] is expressive about the sport he loves and about the father who raised him to strive to win…There’s an authentic Huck Finn-ish charm to these passages. Baseball was not the slick slugfest of today. Players bore colorful nicknames, played day games, and they played hurt. It was a game of knockdowns and spitballs…  Play Hungry testifies to the dividends paid by desire, not just to Mr. Rose but to the teammates that he inspired with the will to win…the sport misses the authenticity of his voice, and the Hall of Fame—barred to him on account of his banishment—can hardly be complete absent such an immense talent. After 30 years, baseball should think about bringing him home." Wall Street Journal

“The title says it all. This is how a hungry kid became one of the greatest ball players of all time. Essential reading for baseball fans, controversy and all.” Booklist, starred review

“A bitingly candid reflection on his life in baseball…he’s witty and brash, but he also displays unexpected earnestness…With this frank, no-holds-barred narrative, Rose just might win new fans.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Rose’s] recollections about baseball—and life off the field—yield rewards for readers. In a baseball memoir filled with plenty of strikes and balls, Rose offers abundant evidence of why he has become a touchstone of controversy.” —Kirkus Reviews

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