Kostya Kennedy--Pete Rose: An American Dilemma
Kostya Kennedy is the New York Times bestselling author of 56: Joe DiMaggio and The Last Magic Number in Sports, winner of the 2011 Casey Award and runner-up for the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.
Pete Rose is the ultimate enigma—to baseball fans, to historians and journalists, to ballplayers past and present and even to members of his own family. Now in Pete Rose: An American Dilemma, published to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Rose’s banishment from baseball, Kennedy has delivered the definitive work on baseball’s all-time hits leader.
Based on previously untilled material and extensive interviews, including those closest to Rose—his family, former teammates, as well as Rose himself–-this groundbreaking and evocative book considers Rose through the prism and context of today’s post-steroid era. Kennedy, an assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated and runner-up for the 2012 PEN/ESPN award for Literary Sports Writing, reveals Rose in all his ambiguity: a man revered for his hustle and verve, with great potential and greatness achieved, but also a man with a fatal flaw that precipitated his exile, whose place in baseball’s firmament, and in Cooperstown, remains unsettled.
In fascinating detail Kennedy reveals the lone regret of John Dowd, who headed the investigation into Rose’s gambling that resulted in banishment. Dowd only wished he’d had the chance to spend time privately with Rose to offer what could have been a history-altering deal. “I’ll always believe that I could have turned him around,” Dowd tells Kennedy. “That I could have made him see the error of his ways, and to see how to make it right . . . if he had done it, had owned up and accepted a punishment, well if you ask me, he could be managing the Cincinnati Reds still today.”
While a softness has emerged in the eighth decade of his life, baseball’s “Hit King” remains both his jabbering, edgy self—still ardently hawking his signature—and a conundrum. Even now, as Kennedy writes, Rose “adores and reveres baseball…as he adores and reveres nothing else” yet while banned from the game for betting, he still gambles. He has tried to auction off the five-page Dowd report that banished him from the game and annually signs autographs in Cooperstown memorabilia shops, down the street from the Hall of Fame—the place where many, including almost all his former teammates, believe he belongs, while others strongly believe he does not.
Lecture: Neil Leifer, photographer, April 25, 3:30 pm at the Frank Deford Lecture in Sports Journalism, presented by the McGarr Symposium on Sport and Society, in BMC 2.106.
All events are open to the university community and the general public.
Join the community
TPSM is developing a local community of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students with an interest in sports, media and society. The emerging field is broad and deep, replete with questions and issues that require a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars to address in a meaningful manner.
TPSM posits that:
- Sport precipitates beneficial social change and economic development.
- Media stimulate human engagement and inter-connection.
Sports and media are two sides of a common coin, revealing (for better or worse) human nature, culture and community in a manner that no other aspect of society can touch. TPSM engages these issues at UT-Austin by supporting curriculum, research and programming within the related disciplines of the College of Communication: Advertising/Public Relations, Journalism, Radio-Television-Film and Communication Studies. TPSM also supports an interdisciplinary discourse across campus with departments and faculty that share an appreciation of stories from sports.
In addition to this website, TPSM maintains a Facebook page and a Twitter stream to stimulate and sustain this dialogue. If you would like information pushed out to you, please join our email group for the latest on curriculum, programming and research initiatives.