Sport: Last Goodbye to Glory

Veteran ballplayers face up to retirement in the new year

Pete Rose retired from playing baseball on Aug. 17, 1986, but neglected to acknowledge the fact to anyone, including himself, for 16 months. Still the manager of the Cincinnati Reds, entitled to go on sporting his old uniform, Rose skipped the valedictory. At the owners' meetings a few weeks ago, as casually as can be, he let the information drop: "I just won't be running, throwing or hitting anymore."

Along with Rose, Tom Seaver, Phil Niekro and maybe Reggie Jackson are approaching this New Year's Day with that same thought. "Usually," says Niekro, 48, meaning every year of the past 24,...

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