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Pete Rose Statue Artist No Stranger To Reds

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Mark Heyne
/
WVXU

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported Tom Tsuchiya's statue of Tony Perez would be unveiled in August, 2016. The sculpture was added in August, 2015. 

Original story: 

Artist Tom Tsuchiya, who has created several statues outside Great American Ball Park, has been chosen to craft a statue of Pete Rose as part of Rose's induction into the Reds Hall of Fame.

The Cincinnati Reds announced Tuesday Pete Rose would be the single inductee into the team's Hall of Fame in June.  Along with that honor, the Reds will retire his jersey number, 14, and erect the statue of Rose. 

In 2001, Tom Tsuchiya heard about the team's desire to remember Crosley-era ballplayers with sculptures.

“I contacted John Allen, who was the chief operating officer at the time. I expressed my interest in doing the work. And then I entered into a competition with other artists. I was the lucky winner,” Tsuchiya says.

After sculpting Reds greats Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi, and Ted Kluszewski, he made statues of Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.  His statue of Tony Perez was unveiled in August, 2015. 

At the media conference announcing the honors, Rose was asked what the statue should look like.

“Well, I sure as hell don’t want me standing at Turfway in the $2 window,” Rose joked, referring to the gambling that earned him a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball.

Rose said he'd like the statue to show him sliding head-first into base.

Tsuchiya says that’s no problem.

“In fact, that was one of the ideas that I had, for the head-first slide, which is kind of what we think of as sort of a signature Pete pose," says Tsuchiya. "That’s something that I took into consideration. So, if that’s what ends up happening, I’m already prepared for that.”

Tsuchiya says he's working with Rose and the Reds on the final design.

“It’s something that will be based on what will be the right pose for the right location. We have not selected precisely where we’re going to put the statue yet. Those things also affect how the sculpture will look.”

Tsuchiya says no timetable has been set, but the bronze statues usually take him about nine months to make.