What it takes to make Pete Rose fly

A Pete Rose statue will be unveiled before the Reds game against the Dodgers on Saturday, June 17th. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A new Pete Rose statue will be unveiled this weekend at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

It will feature Rose in his famous "flying head-first slide" into third base. It took many people during the process to make Pete "fly."

Pete Rose will be joining Johnny, Joe and Tony from the Big Red Machine with the statue at the ballpark, Saturday June 17th.

Like the man himself, the Pete statue is unique, complicated, and hard to figure out. And like the man, a good team made a statue that will be a fan favorite.

The Pete Rose statue team met in a high-tech Blue Ash plant, called Exact Metrology. This collection of engineers and metallurgists came together after a chance meeting with sculptor, Tom Tsuchiya at Redsfest two years ago.

"Tom said, 'How do I make Pete fly?' Well, being an ex-GE guy and Brent's a GE guy, we said 'Yeah, we can do that,'" said Bob Dzugan.

Brent Tholke added, "So it didn't take me long to figure out 'Yeah, this is pretty cool.' So on the cool factor, this is up there. Over a hundred."

Tsuchiya then came up with the design we've become familiar with and made a small clay model. Application engineers from Exact Metrology then scanned that model. Bits of clay gave way to bytes of data and a 3-D digital Pete was ready for his close up.

"Normally, we're like making the model and sending it off and we never get to see it. This is in our hometown, plus we get to see it to the end," said Ronnie Hensley, an application engineer at Exact Metrology.

Once the digital model was in place, the team had to figure out how to make the flying Pete strong enough to hold the fans who will inevitably climb on his back.

A GE engineer, who normally keeps 747-8 and 787 Dreamliner engines flying, turned his calculations to a flying Rose. He designed a stainless steel base and skeleton that can keep Pete aloft.

Tom Wallace explained, "It literally could hold a car up. That's the way I put it with Tom. It could hold up a car."

"So it's a 3 and a half inch tube of solid steel rod in there. So if you do the math, it's quite a high load. Over 900,000 pounds just to bend it. So we're not going to bend it," said Tholke.

Tsuchiya said he's never worked on a project that required this many diverse talents and skills. "So I'm very confident that everything's going to be wonderful when it's unveiled on Saturday," he added.

The statue to honor the game's greatest singles hitter, appears to be a home run.

It will be installed on Friday, June 16th and unveiled the day after before the Reds game against the Dodgers. Pete Rose will be on hand for the unveiling.

The game is at 4:10 and fans will be receiving a miniature version of the Pete statue.

Pete is the 8th Reds statue Tom Tsuchiya has done for Great American Ballpark. There are four statues on Crosley Terrace- Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lonbardii, Frank Robinson, and Ted Kluszewski. There are also statues for Big Red Machine members.

Tsuchiya said the next statue is likely to be hall-of-famer, Barry Larkin.

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