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Pete Rose reacts to unveiling of new statue at GABP

Former Cincinnati Reds player Pete Rose smiles as he stands for pictures during the dedication of his statue outside Great American Ballpark prior to a baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, June 17, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Peter Edward Rose AKA Charlie Hustle AKA The Hit King was forever immortalized at Great American Ball Park after his bronze statue was unveiled in front of thousands of fans Saturday.

Rose addressed fans and teammates before the game.

"Going to the Reds Hall of Fame was enough for me, said Rose. “Then they top it off by retiring your number and then they top it off by putting a statue up at the ballpark,”

For hours fans waiting for the moment when the cloth came off of Rose’s statue, a giant image of him sliding headfirst into third base.

"Pete should have had a statue a long time ago and I'm really excited to see it,” Kathy Jackisch.

Cindy Morton says she wouldn’t have missed the ceremony.

"Even growing up in another part of Indiana, Pete Rose has meant a lot to baseball. It's good to be here,” said Morton.

Rose’s statue is the ninth one devoted to Reds greats. The flying statue of Rose sits between two of his teammates, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. And just a few hundred feet from Johnny Bench.

"When you go up there you recognize what Tony was,” said Bench. “You recognize the homerun, the greatness, the grandeur of our accomplishments in so many ways. "

In front of a sellout crowd of more than 42,000 Rose saluted Reds Country as 14 is now forever.

"It's just a big honor to be on the same block with these guys over here,” said Rose. “They're the greatest, tremendous at what they did. To be in the same garden with them. It's goosebumpy.”

Rose added he wants all of his Big Red Machine brothers idolized in bronze at GABP starting with Dave Concepcion and Sparky Anderson.

Last summer, the Reds put Rose into the Reds Hall of Fame and retired his number.

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