Rose named Reds' Hometown Hero
09/27/2006 11:01 PM ET
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Pete Rose's exile from baseball for gambling has been a divisive hot-button issue among fans for almost two decades.
But a majority of Reds fans this summer have answered one big debate by selecting Rose as the greatest player from baseball's oldest professional franchise.
The game's all-time hits leader, Rose was named winner of the Reds' Hometown Heroes Award, presented by DHL. On Wednesday, his selection was announced as part of a 10-player group featured during the second show of a three-part series that aired on ESPN.
Each of the 30 Major League clubs had a special ballot of five players. From July 18 through Sept. 17, nearly 17 million votes were cast at ballparks, online at MLB.com and at DHL shipping centers.
Besides Rose, baseball greats Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan and Frank Robinson were part of the Reds' ballot.
A 17-time All-Star, Rose collected 4,256 hits during a 24-season career that spanned from 1963-86. The Cincinnati native had two tours with his hometown team -- from 1963-78 and from 1984-86 when he returned as the player-manager.
On Sept. 11, 1985, Rose passed Ty Cobb as the all-time "hit king," when he notched hit No. 4,192 off the Padres' Eric Show at Riverfront Stadium.
Affectionately known as "Charlie Hustle" for his tenacious, all-out effort on the field, Rose was the 1963 National League Rookie of the Year, the 1973 NL Most Valuable Player and a two-time Gold Glove winner. He's also the Major League all-time leader with 3,562 games played.
In 1989, Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from the game issued by then-Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti for betting on baseball. Rose, now 65, remains ineligible for selection to the Hall of Fame.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.