Roberto Clemente became my hero when I first saw him play. His commitment to justice and community involvement expanded my understanding of athletes and heroes. Feliz cumpleaños, Roberto. Te recuerdo.
Treadmill. Gym at Germantown Mill Lofts.
Core work. Stretching. Gym in Tricia’s apartment.
Take Me out to the Ball Game – Jaqueline Schwab
The Star-Spangled Banner – Big League Orchestra
Roberto – Ismael Miranda
Sueño Se Un Niño – Tito Allen
Somos La Fuerza Latina – Andy Montañez & Ismael Miranda
Roberto Y Tirabala – Andy Montañez
Orgullo De Borinquen – Lefty Pérez
Clemente (Estrella 21) – Edel Borrero
Jugando La Pelota – Jesús “Chocolate” Coombs
Jardonero Del Amor – Wichi Camacho
Lo Mejor Que Dios Ha Hecho – Angel Ramírez
Te Recuerdo – John McCutcheon
Forever Young – Pete Seeger with the Rivertown Kids
Fifty-eight years ago, on October 13, 1960, my father, a music teacher in the Neville Island school district, took a day off and took me out of my first-grade class.
From Neville Island we journeyed to Forbes Field in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.
There we watched the Pittsburgh Pirates take on the New York Yankees in Game 7 of that year’s World Series (an interesting name now, but even more so at that time when all the teams vying for the title were located in the United States).
The heavily favored Yankees had won 10 pennants in 12 years. They won three games in this series: 16-3, 10-0, and 12-0. The Pirates won the other three games by much closer scores: 6-4, 3-2, and 5-2.
Game 7 proved a classic. The Pirates took the lead. The Yankees came back and went ahead. The Pirates regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees tied it in the ninth.
Bill Mazeroski led off the bottom of the ninth inning for the Pirates. He took the first pitch for a ball. Then he drove the second pitch over the left-field wall. And the Pirates were the champions.
How much do I remember because I saw the game in person? How much do I remember because I have seen the pictures and the film and heard the stories? I will never know.
On the anniversary of the game, Pirates fans gather in Pittsburgh to relieve, remember, and recreate.
In 2009, a kinescope of the telecast was discovered in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar. Crosby owned a portion of the Pirates. A DVD appeared with the game. Tricia gave me a copy as a gift. Tonight, after the football games ended, I celebrated the past in the present as I watched the game.
“There’s a drive into deep left field, look out now… that ball is going, going gone! And the World Series is over! Mazeroski… hits it over the left field fence, and the Pirates win it 10–9 and win the World Series!” Mel Allen on NBC TV
And as it happens every time I watch the video or see a clip of Mazeroski pumping his batting helmet as he rounds the bases, I remembered my father. And my spirit warmed. And the smile has not left my face or my heart.
See you along the Trail.
The Pirates played the second of their three games against the Mets. And the tour returned to Citi Field. The Pirates lost.
Teeth were gnashed.
The Pirates came to town. And the tour went to Citi Field to see them play.
I close my eyes, squeeze them tight,
for a moment the neon assault
that is Yankee Stadium fades away
and I find myself sitting again
in a wooden seat, peanut shells beneath my feet,
within the steel and concrete of Forbes Field
where hands change the numbers on the scoreboard
while Clemente lashes a double into the gap
and the odor of his pipe tobacco
rises from my father’s clothes.
27 May 2018
Manhattan, New York
The return tour to New York has continued although posts have not been made. Efforts will be made to address that.
Last night, the tour made its way to Yankees Stadium. The first time I saw the Yankees play was against the Pittsburgh Pirates on 13 October 1960. The Pirates, my Pirates, won. I have remained a Pirates fan every since through triumphs, and a whole bunch of losing and frustration.
But my friend Don had tickets from his work and so, with Don and our friends John and Jim, I went to the game.
The Yankees put on a show of power. CC Sabathia pitched well. And a fun time was had!