No matter what happens from here, Pete Rose will now live forever in Cincinnati.
The Reds officially unveiled a long-awaited statue of baseball’s hit king outside Great American Ball Park in a ceremony before Saturday’s game. Rose did the honors himself and revealed the statue in front of a large crowd of Reds fans, former teammates, and dignitaries who came to celebrate his career.
The statue was sculpted by Cincinnati artist Tom Tsuchiya, who also created statues of Rose’s “Big Red Machine” teammates Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez that adorn the outside of the Reds’ stadium. Rose’s statue depicts the man known as “Charlie Hustle” in midair during one of his trademark headfirst slides, complete with his iconic flowing hair from his prime.
(Photo courtesy: Action Images)
An additional pregame ceremony featuring more tributes was then held inside the stadium, where Rose again addressed the fans.
Rose then participated in a ceremonial first pitch with his son, fellow Red alumnus Pete Rose Jr., and his grandson, Pete III.
Rose, a native of Cincinnati, played for his hometown team from 1963-78 and again from 1984-86, while also serving as manager for parts of five seasons from 1984-89. As a Red he was arguably the anchor of the club’s dynasty which saw the Reds win four pennants and two World Series titles over a six-year span from 1970-76. He won the 1973 NL MVP and 1975 World Series MVP, and broke Ty Cobb’s all-time hits record with the Reds in 1985. Rose retired with a record 4,256 hits – 3,358 of which came with Cincinnati.
The 76-year-old Rose was banned from baseball for life in 1989 after he was found to have bet on games while playing and managing the Reds. On Thursday, the Hall of Fame upheld its longstanding ruling and said that Rose remains ineligible for induction.
Despite continuing to be banned from the sport, commissioner Rob Manfred allowed the Reds to induct Rose into their team Hall of Fame and officially retire his No. 14 last year, leading to Saturday’s statue dedication.
Later this summer, the Philadelphia Phillies – Rose’s team from 1979-83 – will induct him into their Wall of Fame.
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