EL REY DE BASEBALL | ROBERTO CLEMENTE

From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

Roberto Clemente is, was, and will always be the standard that all Latino ball players will be measured against.  He and Lou Gehrig are the only players to have the five year Hall of Fame waiting period waived so they could gain immediate entry.  A legendary baseball player– the classic five tool guy, but he also was someone who rose above sports– his selflessness and dedication to help other human beings transcended baseball, and lifted all people regardless of color, creed, or religion.   He was a trailblazer for Latin players who carried himself with grace & dignity– and possessed a fierce will to excel.

July 1966, PA — Pittsburgh Pirates Outfielder Roberto Clemente — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

Nothing was as breath taking as watching Clemente’s batting helmet fly off as he legged out a triple after clubbing the ball into the gap or watching one of his defensive gems in old Forbes Field.  Most will never forget the fact that his 3,000th hit was achieved at his last at bat– almost as if the fates knew he would not be among us much longer.

Sept 30th, 1972 — Roberto Clemente made his 3,000 hit. Doug Harvey, umpire, is shown handing him the ball on the field. — Image by © Bettmann/Corbis

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