How Pete Rose became so polarizing spurred Keith O’Brien to get granular in “Charlie Hustle,” which has become an instant The New York Times bestseller.

In 1989, Major League Baseball’s hit king received a lifetime ban for betting on games in which he managed his hometown Cincinnati Reds. With reportorial digging, O’Brien reminds readers of everything Rose did between the lines of MLB ballparks and off the field, and why the scandal lingers into this era of legal sports gambling.

A Cincinnati native like Rose, O’Brien draws on some 27 hours of dialogue with the baseball legend, and extensive interviews with Rose’s family, inner circle, and former teammates. “Charlie Hustle” is his fourth book, and second about sports.