Who might break Rose's record?

Posted at 10:37 AM, Sep 12, 2015

CINCINNATI -- For those who think Pete Rose's all-time hit record will never be broken, I give you these three young players: Starlin Castro, Jose Altuve and (to a lesser extent because of how much he walks and how much more he will walk in the future) Mike Trout.

My friend and co-author, Joel Luckhaupt, who is the statistical analyst for Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio and a WCPO contributor, provided me with this:

On the day Rose turned 26, he had his 726th career hit.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro turns 26 this offseason and already has 966 hits.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve turns 26 in May next year and has 797 hits.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout turns 26 in August — of 2017! — and has 716 hits.

"So, there certainly are kids who can challenge, but as we all know it wasn't Pete's 20s that made him a hit king,"  Luckhaupt said. "It was his 30s."

Sometimes Reds fans forget Starlin Castro is still only 25.

Here's the whole list of players with 2000-plus hits after the age of 30:

Most Hits, age 30 season or later

Pete Rose - 2,724

Sam Rice - 2,561

Cap Anson - 2,398

Ichiro Suzuki - 2,265

Honus Wagner - 2,214

Paul Molitor - 2,116

Ty Cobb - 2,053

Stan Musial - 2,006

"It's not an easy list to get on," Luckhaupt said. "If I had to bet today on one player under the age of 26, I'd probably bet on Altuve. He has the right profile.

Is the diminutive Altuve the best bet to break Rose’s record?

"I think Trout will start to walk more as he gets older (he already walks a lot as it is), which will make it harder for him," Luckhaupt said.

Mike Trout probably walks too much to break Rose’s record. But how many other records could fall to this wunderkind?

My addition to that what-might-be list — Altuve, Castro and Trout — is Ichiro Suzuki. What if a future Ichiro came to this country at 22 or younger?

Ichiro could have had 899 more hits had he gotten even Rose's age 22-start and matched Rose hit-for-hit those first five years instead of debuting in the States at 27, and being "only" 41 now with 83 hits already this season. This would have given Ichiro 3,826 hits instead of the 2,927 he presently has. Add on the 387 hits of Rose's ages 42-43-44-45 seasons and however many hits Ichiro gets the rest of this season (15?) for a career total of 4,228. I'd call that a run at Rose, wouldn't you?

To me, this is all very cool stuff. It keeps hope alive. I don't like records that are "unachievable." I like to think a future "super-great" can come along. After all, isn't that how the Major League Baseball All-Star Game just played in Cincinnati will likely be remembered: The year that youth was served?

John Erardi has covered baseball in Cincinnati for 30 years. He is a two-time Associated Press Ohio Sports Writer of the Year and co-author of six books on the Reds, including "Big Red Dynasty" and "Crosley Field."