August 15, 1984:The Reds stun the baseball world by brining Pete Rose back to Cincinnati as player-manager or “manager-player” as was announced by general manager Bob Howsam, who wanted Rose to focus his attention on managing. Tom Lawless was sent to the Montreal Expos as compensation for Rose. The Reds hoped to keep the Rose acquisition a secret until an August 16 afternoon press conference, but word leaked out in the late afternoon on August 15, and the club had to acknowledge the transaction. Manager Vern Rapp was informed by Bob Howsam that he had been fired just prior to the Reds 3-2 11 inning win over the Cardinals in St. Louis, but the media had already informed Rapp of his dismissal over an hour earlier.
The move paid immediate dividends as apathetic fans became excited about the club for the first time since the mid-season strike in 1981. When Rose was hired, the Reds had a record of 51-70. the Reds were 19-22 under Rose in 1984. rose has been the only player-manager in baseball since Don Kessinger with the White Sox in 1979.
All “Reds trivia” posts come from Greg Rhodes and John Snyder’s fabulous book, “Redleg Journal” (see link for purchasing) and are used with Greg’s permission.
Thanks again to Greg Rhodes for permission to use his material.
Comment: I attended Pete’s first game back with the Reds and in all the games I’ve attended in person, including the clinching game of the NL playoffs in 1990, I’ve never felt such excitement at any game I’ve ever attended.