(Reuters) - The doors to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame may be closed to Pete Rose, the sport’s all-time hits leader but later shamed for betting on games, but the team he long played for will open its own shrine to him, the Cincinnati Reds said on Tuesday.
Rose, 74, has been ineligible for Cooperstown, the upstate New York town where the Hall of Fame is based, since being banned for life from the professional sport in 1989 for gambling on games while playing for and managing the Reds.
His bid to have the ban overturned by Major League Baseball was denied by the sport’s Commissioner Rob Manfred in December due in part to his admission that he still bets on baseball.
Nevertheless, Rose has now been selected as the sole inductee for the class of 2016 by the Reds Hall of Fame Board.
“Inducting Pete into the Reds Hall of Fame will be a defining moment in the 147-year history of this storied franchise,” team President Bob Castellini said in a statement.
“He is one of the greatest players to ever wear a Reds uniform and it will be an unforgettable experience watching him being honored as such.”
The statement did not delve into reasons why the Reds were bringing Rose in from the cold now, but the team scheduled a news conference for later on Tuesday.
Nicknamed “Charlie Hustle” for his aggressive style of play batting lead-off for the Reds, Rose played from 1963 to 1986 and amassed 4,256 hits, still the U.S. major league record.
Rose denied for nearly 15 years that he had bet on baseball, the game’s cardinal sin dating back to 1919 when members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw that year’s World Series championships and were all ejected for life.
He finally admitted in his 2004 autobiography to making baseball wagers when he was Cincinnati’s manager but said he never bet against his team.
He has since been allowed to take part in some MLB ceremonies such as those for the 2015 All-Star Game, but not to re-enter the sport as a manager or in an off-field capacity such as a team executive or talent scout.
The Reds Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Rose will take place on the weekend of June 24-26.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Mark Heinrich