Thursday, July 20, 2017

#309 Roberto Clemente #310 Roberto Clemente In Action 

Maybe one should break the fourth wall with Roberto....Do not report facts but tell what was important to you and how he affected your life....I didn’t have the 1972 card but I have 3 of his 1973 cards...a sad and somber memento...his face obscured maybe intentionally in an in-action pose....his story begins as a signee by the Dodgers who recognized his pending stardom....placed in Montreal AAA squad in a pattern reminiscing of Jackie Robinson’s upbringing....only thing is didn’t play much in an attempt to hide  him from Rule 5 draft....still didn’t work, Pirates brass (Branch Rickey) had too much knowledge of the Dodger prospect and he was taken for a price of a measly 4,000 dollars...Overtook the Pirates spot immediately 1955....had an solid  body of work for 5 years (.282 BA, 26 home runs, 236 RBI cumulative)  but supercharged with power and RBI number with the start of the 1960’s....bravado, proud, possibly  narcissistic of his skills but he could back the talk....4 batting crowns...MVP 1966....hit under .300 only once in the decade....1961 started a string of 12 consecutive Gold Gloves augmented by a legendarily strong and accurate throwing arm...as the Baltimore Orioles found out in the 1971 WS....1969-1971 was nearly flawless hitting a .3456 clip....personal goal for 1972 was to reach the mile stone 3000 hits....battled viruses and a strained tendons resulting in only  403 plate appearances...the 3K mark was reached on September 30....a double off of Jon Matlack....last regular season hit ever....the Pirates lost out to the Reds in NLCS....Roberto was home when word of an earthquake devastating Nicaragua....continuing a personal commitment  to charitable work in Latin America to the beleaguer nation...As most people were celebrating the new year, his plane carrying relief went down a mile off the Puerto Rican coast...body never recovered....tragedy put a pale over the 1973 Pirates who descended into a losing record....In an act of highest reverence, inducted into Hall of Fame 1973 waiving the 5 year period....Other tributes poured in....Well remembered to this day..... Baseball also renamed the newly created Commissioner’s award to the Roberto Clemente award which is given the player combining good play and strong work in the community.


Note: Many of back sides of the In Action Card are the same promotional advertisement.  So I've left them out.  For Roberto I will show his 1973 card.



6 comments:

  1. My hero. Saddest of all, he only decided to make the flight himself because word got back that previous aid shipments had been diverted by the corrupt government.

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  2. It is horrifically tragic situation
    , a convergence of many wrong events. Read on http://www.fangraphs.com/community/the-untold-story-of-roberto-clementes-plane-crash-litigation/

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  3. If you were there when Clemente was alive [ie.Pittsburgh] then you know his '72 in action card was as much a part of his personality as his haunting '73 card was.. he was constantly complaining ..was sometimes rude to pirate fans.... nobody is a saint just because they were great ballplayers and died early

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  4. Even though I'm of age, my memory of Clemente is fuzzy. I grew up in an American League area to point that I did not know of certain regular NL player unless I had baseball card of them. In the depictions I've seen, Clemente is somewhat standoffish, distant, and greatly intense. Not someone to be humored with.

    Funny you should saint-hood, some have suggested that the Roman Catholic church consider him for canonization. Tough sell for I don't believe Popes follow baseball.

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  5. I agree Ned. I have 4 biographies of him and the common theme is moodiness/misunderstood. Like you both said, nobody's a saint. I was 9 when he died, old enough to follow him, young enough to gloss over his shortcomings.

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  6. I was in southeast asia when he died and my grandmother sent me clippings and such from Pittsburgh newspapers.. still have them..felt really far from the USA and when i got back in 1973 was shocked to open a pack of Topps and getting a Roberto card

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