MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Reds cap Rose's weekend by retiring No. 14

All-time hits leader was inducted into team Hall of Fame on Saturday

Reds cap Rose's weekend by retiring No. 14

CINCINNATI -- A weekend-long celebration of Pete Rose concluded with the official retiring of his uniform No. 14, unveiled at the end of a 30-minute ceremony on the field Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Rose, honored along with the 1976 Reds on Friday and inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame Saturday, was showered with several ovations from a packed ballpark for a third day in a row, in the moments before, during and after his No. 14 was unveiled on the facade just below the press level behind home plate.

"You're not going to make me cry," Rose said, sparking another loud cheer from the crowd.

Rose is the 10th former Reds player to have his number retired. The others are Fred Hutchinson (No. 1), Johnny Bench (No. 5), Joe Morgan (No. 8), Sparky Anderson (No. 10), Barry Larkin (No. 11), Dave Concepcion (No. 13), Ted Kluszewski (No. 18), Frank Robinson (No. 20) and Tony Perez (No. 24). Jackie Robinson's No. 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball in 1997.

In baseball history, 182 players and managers have had their numbers retired.

"For only the 10th time in 150 years of playing baseball, we will retire the uniform number of a Reds legend," said longtime radio announcer Marty Brennaman, who emceed the ceremony. "It is one of the most exclusive honors that a team can bestow on a player or a manager, and without a doubt, it is an honor truly befitting of Mr. Peter Edward Rose."

The ceremony took place on a stage parked on top of second base. Rose was joined by Bench, Larkin, Concepcion and Perez, in addition to several Reds dignitaries. Rose's son, Pete Jr., the only other player to wear No. 14 since Rose Sr. was first issued his Reds uniform in 1963, was also on stage. Rose Jr., who had a brief stint with the Reds in 1997, threw the ceremonial first pitch to his dad at the conclusion of the ceremony.

President and CEO Bob Castellini praised Rose for playing "with the bravado of a champion. And we loved it."

"On behalf of Reds ownership, it is our privilege to retire Pete Rose's No. 14," Castellini said. "The record books are built with Pete's accomplishments. His feats on the field are well quantified. But what is immeasurable is how we feel about Pete. He gave his all, every play.

"Pete, because you left everything on the field, it is only right that your No. 14 never leave the field."

Rose was presented with two traditional custom gifts, created by local artist Bart Forbes. The first was a handcrafted crystal sculpture depicting Rose's salute to the fans in the immediate moments after he logged his record-setting 4,192nd hit on Sept. 11, 1985. The second gift was a painting that captured one of the signature traits that made Rose famous and beloved -- his airborne, head-first slide.

The ceremony included several video tributes. In one, fans who grew up near Rose's home on the west side of Cincinnati expressed their appreciation for Rose's accomplishments and dedication to the Reds. Another video showed a replay of the broadcast from the night Rose broke Ty Cobb's hit record. Brennaman and the late Joe Nuxhall, a Cincinnati legend in his own right, had the call that night.

"There's never been a hometown athlete more loved by the residents, and the natives, of that city than Pete Rose is loved by the people of Cincinnati, Ohio," Brennaman declared that night in 1985.

The sentiment clearly still resonates.

"The Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame went out of their way this weekend to make us all feel great," Rose said. "It just solidifies what I've been saying for many, many, many years -- Cincinnati is the baseball capital of the world."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.