Hit King Pete Rose visits Elder's Pit to watch grandson play for St. Xavier

Greater Cincinnati celebrities have stepped on Elder High School's turf at the Pit in the past. Many have played there, some on the field like Kyle Rudolph, some on a stage like Darius Rucker.

Friday, for the first time since 1958, one of the more famous athletes from Western Hills made an appearance. Years ago, the Mustangs would play Elder in football on Thanksgiving morning.

A running back named Peter Edward Rose had a pretty good game against the Panthers 64 years ago as Western Hills prevailed 31-14. After six decades and 4,256 major league baseball hits, the "Hit King" sat on the 50-yard line to watch his grandson, P.J. Rose, play for St. Xavier's Bombers.

"The next four or five years after I left, Western Hills didn't score a touchdown," Rose said. "My brother (Dave) ran a kickoff back to break that string (vs. Elder)."

Rose also mentioned his father played football, so toughness came naturally. Harry Rose played for the then-semipro Cincinnati Bengals.

"He was one of the best semipro players ever," Rose said.

Cincinnati Reds president Bob Castellini and 2016 Reds Hall of Fame inductee Pete Rose share a laugh during pregame ceremonies before the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, Saturday, June 25, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Rose visited Elder's Pit Friday night for the first time in 63 years to watch his grandson play football for St. Xavier vs. Elder.
Cincinnati Reds president Bob Castellini and 2016 Reds Hall of Fame inductee Pete Rose share a laugh during pregame ceremonies before the MLB game between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, Saturday, June 25, 2016, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Rose visited Elder's Pit Friday night for the first time in 63 years to watch his grandson play football for St. Xavier vs. Elder.

Though he admitted to wearing a purple shirt earlier in the day, the 81-year-old Rose was given a St. Xavier pullover by son Pete Rose II, who told St. Xavier coach Steve Specht, "It's the first time he's been in Dodger blue."

P.J. Rose returned to the Bombers Friday after a knee injury and surgery. Noting that he only missed 10 games during the 1970s, grandfather Rose was proud. He said P.J. will give the Bomber baseball diamond a go this spring as well. P.J. Rose has a similar build to No. 14 at 6 feet and 200 pounds but wears No. 3 in St. Xavier blue.

"He's a hell of a ballplayer," Rose said. "He can hit. He's been in love with football his whole life, but he's fallen in love with baseball again."

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Friday was Rose's first high school football experience since spending time with Gerry Faust and Moeller in the 1980s when he moonlighted as a WKRC-TV sports reporter.

"I went through the whole Moeller experience," Rose said. "Gerry let me do that. It was kind of exciting. At that time, Moeller was like a small Notre Dame. They had all of the success in the world."

Rose doesn't think Faust had college-level coaches with him at Notre Dame.

Naturally, he also had a few thoughts on the Cincinnati Reds, who placed him in their Hall of Fame in 2016. Like most fans, he longs for the days of 90 wins as opposed to 90 losses.

"You can't sit here and blame David Bell," he said. "If you're a jockey and have a horse***** horse, you're not going to win the Derby. They got rid of all of the good players. I don't understand that because I don't think Mr. Castellini worries about spending money. Mr. Castellini wants to win more than anybody. I love that guy. I would've loved to play for him. David Bell's the manager, they give him the players and he has to work with them. If you don't have the players, you don't win the games. Simple as that. They're not the only team that stinks."

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Pete Rose goes to Elder vs St. Xavier game to see grandson