September 11, 1985: Twice a Day

(Pictured: Pete Rose follows through on his 4,192nd hit. The catcher is Bruce Bochy, who would go on to manage in the majors, winning three World Series in five years with the San Francisco Giants.)

September 11, 1985, was a Wednesday. Headlines in the morning papers include a request by the Reagan Administration to raise the federal debt ceiling to an unprecedented $2.078 trillion in October. Also yesterday, incumbent mayors Ed Koch in New York and Coleman Young in Detroit won primary elections. In such heavily Democratic cities, winning the primary is tantamount to winning the general election. A Colorado resident named Dennis Whiles turns himself into immigration authorities in San Pedro, California. His real name is Georg Gaertner, and during World War II, he escaped from a camp for German prisoners of war in New Mexico, a secret he kept from his wife of 21 years until recently. His surrender is timed to coincide with the release of a book he co-wrote about his experience; authorities say that his lengthy marriage means he probably won’t be deported. A wire-service story reports on a survey that says 50 percent of career women are dissatisfied with the frequency of their sex lives. The psychologist conducting the survey also says that women “like the idea of starting and finishing the day in a warm, emotional way.” This prompts the Los Angeles Times to headline the story, “Career Women Tell Survey They’d Like Sex Twice a Day.”

Tonight, in the bottom of the first inning at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Pete Rose of the Reds singles off Eric Show of the San Diego Padres. It’s Rose’s 4,192nd hit, breaking the all-time record held by Ty Cobb. The Reds go on to win 2-0. On TV tonight, CBS airs an episode of I Had Three Wives, a short-run series starring Victor Garber as a private eye whose ex-wives—a lawyer, an actress with martial arts skills, and a reporter—help him solve cases. It’s followed by the TV movie Brass, an unsold pilot, starring Carroll O’Connor as the NYPD’s chief of detectives. ABC carries the sci-fi movie J. O. E. and the Colonel followed by a rerun of Hotel with guest star Elizabeth Taylor. NBC airs Highway to Heaven followed by the premiere of the new series Hell Town, starring Robert Blake, and the news program American Almanac, hosted by Roger Mudd. The Fall Preview edition of TV Guide is on sale in stores with listings for the week of September 14.

On the current Billboard Hot 100, “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” by John Parr is #1, taking over the top spot from “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News, which falls to #2. “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner and “Freeway of Love” by Aretha Franklin have pulled a similar trade of positions at #3 and #4. “Summer of ’69” by Bryan Adams holds at #5. The biggest mover within the Top 10 is “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits, moving to #6 from #10. Two songs are new in the Top 10: “Don’t Lose My Number” by Phil Collins and “Pop Life” by Prince. Ready for the World’s song “Oh Sheila” moves from #26 to #18, the biggest move within the Top 40. The only other song new to the Top 20 is “Dress You Up” by Madonna at #17. Five songs are new in the Top 40; the highest debut is Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart” at #32. New at #33 is “Dancing in the Street,” a record Mick Jagger and David Bowie made for Live Aid in July. Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover” is new on the Hot 100 all the way up at #43.

Perspective From the Present: I saw Rose tie Cobb’s record against the Cubs the preceding Sunday. I was at the height of my obsessive baseball fandom in 1985, although it would have been tempered by September. The Cubs had crashed at mid-season, losing the whole starting rotation to injuries and dropping 12 games in a row at one point, and were now firmly mired in fifth place. On this particular night, they beat the last-place Pirates 3-1. I don’t know if I watched, but if I had, I would likely have seen Rose’s record-setting hit. Nationally televised regular-season games were still relatively rare, but local broadcasters could pick up the Cincinnati TV feed whenever Rose came to bat.

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