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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Rose ties NL record 44-game hitting streak
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

July 31, 1978

Taking advantage of a rare fastball from Atlanta Braves knuckleballer Phil Niekro, Cincinnati's Pete Rose grounds a single into right-field to extend his hitting streak to 44 games, tying Wee Willie Keeler (1897) for the longest streak in National League history.

A crowd of 45,007, largest of the year in Atlanta, gives Rose a standing ovation of almost two minutes after his bouncer skips past a diving Rod Gilbreath in the sixth inning. Rose is presented a bouquet containing 44 roses as he stands at first base, and fireworks are triggered from atop the center-field scoreboard.

Niekro, who at 39 is two years older than Rose, salutes the Reds' star with a gracious bow.

It's Rose's only hit in five plate appearances (1-for-4 with a walk) in the Reds' 3-2 victory. In his remarkable streak, which started June 14, Rose has batted .385 (70-for-182) with 30 runs and 11 runs batted in. By comparison, Joe DiMaggio had a .379 average (66-for-174) in the first 44 games of his record 56-game hitting streak.

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