Pete Rose had no idea, he said, that he would "slide into second base and start World War III." Baseball is unpredictable that way—in its big flare-ups as well as its big innings. As wars will, this one started small. It was the fifth inning, third playoff game, Cincinnati Reds vs. New York Mets for the National League pennant. Rose of the Reds, trying to break up a double play, got a hunk of the Mets' Bud Harrelson. Nothing unusual about that, but then, as the pictures on the following pages vividly recall, it became a furious fight between Rose and Harrelson—a brawl that brought comrades from both sides on the run. Then, with peace achieved on the field, war broke out from the stands of Shea Stadium. This was a one-sided conflict, with Leftfielder Rose the target of an ugly barrage of whiskey bottles and beer cans thrown by Met partisans. Undaunted, the league's top batsman (with a .338 average) and Most Valuable Player-to-be rapped a home run in the 12th inning to win the next game for the Reds. "I have more than average pride," Rose said.
HARRELSON HAS COMPLETED DOUBLE-PLAY RELAY (TOP) AS ROSE BARGES IN. ROSE CONNECTS WITH AN ELBOW AND THEY SPRAWL
PUSH FOLLOWS SHOVE AS THE PLAYERS REGAIN THEIR FEET, THE MUSCULAR ROSE GETTING THE BEST OF IT BUT LITTLE BUD PROVING A METTLESOME OPPONENT. THEN MET THIRD BASEMAN WAYNE GARRETT (11) DROPS IN, KERPLUNK, TO MAKE IT A THREESOME
AS THE DUST SETTLES, HARRELSON GIVES AN EARFUL TO MANAGER BERRA (8), WHILE ROSE IS PENNED IN BY PEACEMONGERS