MILWAUKEE (AP) — Leading off for the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum: Pete Rose.
The former Cincinnati Reds star will be the inaugural inductee to the new bobblehead hall on Saturday at a ceremony in a downtown Milwaukee theater.
Rose is baseball's career hits leader and 17-time All-Star. He agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 after an investigation for Major League Baseball found Rose placed numerous bets on the Reds to win while playing for and managing the team.
Bobblehead museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said voters in an online poll overwhelmingly approved of inducting Rose.
Sklar said Rose has been a "good sport" about the honor.
"He thought it was a lot of fun ... he played along (with it) well," Sklar said Wednesday.
The ceremony is expected to draw about 300 to 400 guests, Sklar said. Rose is also scheduled to have a question-and-answer session with the audience.
"Definitely, if this goes well, we can make this an annual event," Sklar said about having an induction ceremony.
Sklar estimates that he and friend Brad Novak, a co-founder, have about 3,000 bobbleheads in their collection. About 2,000 are on display at an exhibit at a downtown art gallery.
Museum organizers hope to find a permanent Milwaukee location for the hall by the end of the year.
For Rose, it will be the first of two hall of fame induction ceremonies this year — he'll be inducted into the Reds' team hall during this summer in his hometown. The Reds announced plans for the event in January after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred rejected Rose's application for reinstatement to baseball in December.
Manfred concluded that Rose hasn't shown evidence of "a reconfigured life" and continued to gamble, even while seeking to end the lifetime ban.