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Cincinnati Reds unveiling statue of legend Pete Rose on Saturday

By
The Sports Xchange
Former Cincinnati Reds player Pete Rose waves to the crowd before the start of the 86th All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 14, 2015. File photo by John Sommers II/UPI
Former Cincinnati Reds player Pete Rose waves to the crowd before the start of the 86th All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 14, 2015. File photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

The Cincinnati Reds will dedicate a bronze statue of all-time hits leader Pete Rose on Saturday.

Rose will join team statues of Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez.

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Former Big Red Machine teammates scheduled to appear include Bench, Morgan, Perez, Jack Billingham, Dave Concepcion, Doug Flynn, George Foster and Ken Griffey Sr., the Reds announced Friday.

The ceremony will take place Saturday afternoon outside the main gates at Great American Ball Park. The sculpture captures Rose -- nicknamed Charlie Hustle -- in a headfirst slide.

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The 76-year-old Rose will be honored in an on-field ceremony prior to the afternoon game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first 30,000 fans in attendance will receive a replica of the Rose statue.

Rose received a lifetime ban from then-commissioner Bart Giamatti for betting on baseball, accepting terms of the agreement on Aug. 24, 1989. Giamatti died eight days later.

Rose's hometown of Cincinnati never turned its back on him.

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"If he lived to be 1,000, he would be as popular on his 1,000th birthday as he was when he played," Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman, who has broadcast Reds games since 1974, told the Los Angeles Times.

"It's a phenomenon unto itself. He was a part of arguably one of the top two or three teams in the history of baseball, and the fact is that he was born and raised in that town.

"That's the most provincial city I have ever lived in. If you were born there and you were one of them from the get-go, you can do no wrong. He's a poster boy for that."

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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred rejected Rose's request in December 2015 to lift the lifetime ban. In 1997, Rose sought reinstatement to the game by then-commissioner Bud Selig, who never acted on the petition.

Manfred said the eligibility of Rose for the Hall of Fame was a matter beyond his responsibility or authority. In September 2016, Rose petitioned the National Baseball Hall of Fame officials to include him on future ballots.

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However, Rose's request for the Hall of Fame to reconsider his case and allow him to stand for election was denied in December -- a decision not made public until Wednesday.

"After extensive discussion, a vote was taken in which the Board ratified the resolution that was passed on February 4, 1991, known today as Rule 3(E) in the BBWAA's election rules. As such, anyone deemed permanently ineligible by Major League Baseball, including Pete Rose, may not be considered for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame," a statement from the Hall of Fame said regarding the board's decision.

For almost 15 years after being banned, Rose denied he bet on baseball, but in 2004 he admitted that he did so only when managing the Cincinnati Reds.

Rose amassed a record 4,256 hits during his 24-year playing career. He was a career .303 hitter who won three World Series rings.

Rose passed Ty Cobb as career hits leader with 4,192 on Sept. 11, 1985 with a single off San Diego's Eric Show. Rose played for the Reds from 1963 to 1978 and 1984 to 1986, acting as both a player and a manager from 1984 to 1986 and continuing as just a manager until 1989. Rose's No. 14 was retired by the Reds last June after being inducted into the franchise's Hall of Fame.

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"It's unfortunate," Ray Genco, one of Rose's lawyers, said in an email to USA TODAY Sports on Thursday about the Hall of Fame decision. "My heart says it's unfortunate because Pete, his style of play, those he's inspired, are fundamental and important to the fabric of baseball. With the passage of time we should be able to forgive.

"But my head -- and logic -- find it unfortunate for more compelling reasons. It's unfortunate that the Hall of Fame is maintaining the ex post facto 1991 'Pete Rose Rule' -- the rule is in derogation of the 1989 Giamatti agreement terms and ignores established process by taking the vote away from the Baseball Writers' Association of America."

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