ROBERTO CLEMENTE--A LIFE WELL DONE
"Henry, one of the reasons I chose to write about Roberto Clemente is that America needs genuine role models.
The public's role models today are the selfish
entertainers and the politicians who are nothing more than
sellouts to the Deep State lobby in Washington."
I went to my first baseball game in 1960. The Boston Red Sox were in town and it was Ted William's last year playing at Brigg's Stadium.
I can still recall the exciting atmosphere of the stadium Box seats were $3.50 and not $300. The average baseball salary was around $20,000 a year and not $2,000,000 million a year. There was no rock music in between innings and every game was played like it was the last game of the World Series.
There was another player who I would have liked to watch back then and it was Roberto Clemente. Roberto was the Pittsburg Pirates best player in 1960 and was only earning around $23,000 that year. He was not the first Latino to ever play professional baseball in America but he was undoubtably the greatest Latino baseball player in the history of Major League Baseball. He had a lifetime batting average of 317 and got his 3000th hit in his last at bat. Only 10 players in the history of baseball had ever had 3000 hits at the time he achieved it.
I remember the pitcher Bob Gibson saying in an interview that he intentionally threw at batters to move them off the plate. However, he said it didn't work with Roberto Clemente too well. He was so quick with his bat speed that he once hit him with a line drive that went off his ankle.
Roberto was from Puerto Rico where organized baseball was popular with it's people and he still remains a national hero there to this day. But, most of all, he was Roberto Clemente the person.
Roberto didn't hate the President or America. He enlisted in the United States Marine Reserve in 1958 and served for 6 years. He once said, "a nation without heroes is nothing".
You didn't hear stories about Roberto going out "clubbing" or having a girl in every town while playing on the road. He married a woman from the old country and raised a family.
Roberto was also a strong man of the faith saying in an interview when asked how long he would be playing baseball he said that only God would know how long he would play.
A lot of today's athletes are of the "New Age" religious fold. They talk the walk and can quote scripture but don't get in the way of their money or long term contract.
In the off season Roberto wasn't taking pleasure cruises. He was actively engaged in charity functions in Latin America by donating food to the hungry and baseball equipment to the poor.
His final humanitarian effort was in Nicaragua. He had helped arrange relief for earthquake victims there but they failed as supplies were stolen before the planes could even get there. This happened three times. The fourth time Roberto decided to supervise the mission himself and ride in the plane to make sure the supplies got there. The plane mysteriously crashed shortly after take off and his body was never found.
He once said he had two lives. One being in 1934 and his second in1955 the day he arrived in Pittsburg. He loved the people in Pittsburg but also didn't forget the people where he came from.
Roberto wasn't involved in political rallies or hating people, he was too busy helping the less fortunate.
A lot of your professional athlete "heroes" of today are the ones who appreciate nothing and expect everything. They hold no loyalty to the nation's flag or even the team they play for. They are on performing enhancing drugs and have multiple marriages and live unstable lives.
Let it be said that we once had true heroes like Roberto Clemente.