Boone's version of 'the play' He says Rose messed up before the famous 1980 catch.

Posted: July 11, 2005

First baseman Pete Rose is credited with making one of the most famous plays in Phillies history, grabbing a foul ball that deflected off the mitt of catcher Bob Boone in the last inning of the club's title-clinching win in the 1980 World Series.

Boone begs to differ with that interpretation.

"Look at it again, and you'll see that Pete messed that play up," a smiling Boone said the other day.

With one out in the top of the ninth inning and the Phillies holding a 4-1 lead over the Kansas City Royals in Game 6, Frank White sent a twisting, bases-loaded foul pop-up toward the home team's dugout at Veterans Stadium.

Boone, now the special assistant to the general manager with the Washington Nationals, kept drifting as the ball sailed down the first-base line and near the dugout.

"The catcher is supposed to go down there and wait until he gets called off by the first baseman," Boone said.

Rose was slow to react, Boone said.

"I really thought Pete had to be coming, but I never heard him," Boone said. "I kept going and I remember thinking, 'Where the hell is Rose?' "

Boone also remembers thinking the worst as the ball came down: "I thought Pete was going to hit me, and we both were going to fall into the dugout and mess the play up," he said.

But his thoughts turned euphoric after he lunged for the ball and it bounced off his mitt and into the glove of the, um, hustling Rose, whose Prince Valiant haircut flapped in the wind as he made the signature play of the World Series.

"I wanted to kiss him," Boone said.

But forget Rose's nickname, Boone added.

"Charlie Hustle? My [butt]!" Boone said. "I was the one who hustled."

The epilogue to the story, Boone said, is that he and Rose both used Mizuno baseball equipment, and the company was going to use a photo of the famous play with an ad campaign that read: "If one Mizuno doesn't get it, another one will."

"But the photographer wanted too much for the picture," Boone said, "and the campaign never got off the ground."

After that play, the Royals never got off the ground, either.

Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com.

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