Honoring Pete Rose 25 years and 4,192 hits

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - "It's something I'll never forget," said Reds Chief Operating Officer, Phil Castellini. "I know I'll get goose bumps again tomorrow night when I see that kind of re-lived, and see him out here among the fans."

The Reds management was getting pumped about the "Hit King's" triumphant return to the field in more than two decades.

Everyone knows Saturday is September 11th and what that means to our country. But it is also the day, 25 years ago, when Pete Rose, became baseball's "Hit King", so the Reds are planning a special on-field ceremony to mark the occasion.

Fans were clamoring to see Rose at The Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg Friday night, to get special edition, red Louisville sluggers signed by the man himself.

And Saturday night, The Reds said fans can expect magic at Great American Ball Park, celebrating Pete Rose's 25-year anniversary, of 4,192-hits.

"We're gonna start early," Castellini said. "So the fans need to get here early, that ceremony will start about 6:30pm and it's a video tribute as well as some captured interview highlights and then Pete out on the field."

Rose will be embraced and recognized by his former players. Castellini said Saturday is about the 100-percent effort Pete brought, every day he dug his spikes into that field.

"4,192 represents an accomplishment in baseball that is right up there with one of the hardest things that it is to do," Castellini said. "Be that successful at a game that you love, to stay in the game that long, to be healthy long enough to have a record like that, to be in the same sentences as a Ty Cobb."

There were however, some conflicts going into this big weekend.

"Actually we began negotiations with Pete and his agent back in April and May," said Hollywood General Manager Anthony Rodio. "Never thinking that baseball was going to allow him to be honored inside the ballpark, so we have him under contract because we wanted him to be in the Cincinnati area, they were actually looking to book him at other venues."

But when the commissioner ruled three weeks ago Rose could be on the field, they worked out a deal. Rose will be roasted at the Hollywood Casino, right after his appearance at Great American Ball Park.

So how do the fans feel about the "King's" return?

"oh, I think it's one of the greatest things that's happened to the Cincinnati Reds in a long time," Bob Bell said. "He's one of the greatest to ever play here."

"We're proud to have him in Cincinnati," said Mark Cameron.

"I think it's about time they honored Pete, I'm sure they're never gonna let him in baseball but he certainly deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame," said Ed Boesing. "So this is hopefully the first step."

Pete did not have much to say to us on-camera and he will not be allowed to speak on the field tomorrow...

"I don't think Pete Rose gets nervous about anything," Rodio said. "I think he relishes the spotlight. I think you just watch the way he played during his career and I don't think he's gonna be nervous."

The casino gave away 4,000 commemorative bats Friday night.

500 random customers were chosen to get one and get it signed by the "Hit King" himself.

"A 25-year anniversary is pretty special and to be able to honor a guy while he's still here makes it all the more special and it's something these fans have been wanting to do for a long time," Castellini said.

The night's Rose tribute will also segue into a celebration of the first responders from the 9-11 tragedy. The Reds report there are plenty of great seats are still available.

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