CINCINNATI -- Much of the Reds' plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose becoming baseball's hit king remained under wraps, but fans who arrived at Great American Ball Park early on Saturday got a real treat.
Pregame ceremonies to commemorate Rose's 4,192nd career hit, which surpassed Ty Cobb on the all-time list on Sept. 11, 1985, began at 6:30 p.m. ET -- 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.
Because he is on Major League Baseball's suspended list after accepting a lifetime ban in 1989 for betting on baseball, the Reds have not previously been allowed to hold any on-field ceremonies to honor Rose or his achievements.
There was a video tribute to Rose. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had to approve the Reds' plans to honor Rose.
Former teammates Tony Perez, Ken Griffey Sr., Tommy Helms, Tom Browning and Cesar Geronimo were all scheduled to appear.
Rose finished with 4,256 career hits over 24 seasons with the Reds, Phillies and Expos.
Because he is banned from baseball, Rose is ineligible for election to the Hall of Fame and is not allowed to work in the game. The only previous time Selig granted permission for Rose to participate in an official league-sanctioned activity was during the naming of the All-Century Team before Game 2 of the 1999 World Series.
On Sunday, Rose and his family will also be in attendance at the series finale vs. the Pirates. Following the game, Fox Sports Ohio will air the 1985 game during which Rose hit his record-setting single to left-center field off the Padres' Eric Show at Riverfront Stadium.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.