Tag Archives: humanitarian

I saw Roberto Clemente play … and live

As Major League Baseball celebrated Roberto Clemente Day on Septmber 9, I was moved by the posts honoring this amazing man. Viewing photos, watching videos, sharing posts, memories flooded over me.

A friend shared a post by a baseball fan lamenting never seeing Clemente, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ great right fielder from 1955 until his untimely death in 1972 play. “If there’s one athlete, past or present, that I wish I could have seen play, it would be Roberto Clemente.”

I understand the sentiment. Because I saw Clemente play. And I am forever grateful. 

At Forbes Field and at Three Rivers Stadium, I had the privilege to see Roberto Clemente play. On numerous occasions, I saw him play with the skill and grace and passion that few brought to the game. Slashing hits. Unmatched arm. He covered right field like a blanket. He ran the bases with abandon. 

But as great a player as he was, Roberto Clemente was an even greater human being. He cared for children, offering clinics in Puerto Rico and Pittsburgh. He advocated for civil rights. He demanded that he be treated justly as he challenged the systemic racism that permeated baseball and society.

Interviewed after he led the Pirates to victory in the 1971 World Series, Roberto Clemente spoke first to his parents – in Spanish. There was not a dry eye in my house. I suspect there was not a dry eye in many places. Tears fell in puddles when Clemente died on a humanitarian mission to aid the people of Nicaragua.

Yes. I saw Roberto Clemente play. More importantly, I saw Roberto Clemente live. And I am better for it. 

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Filed under Baseball, Current Events, Human Rights, Photo, Pittsburgh Pirates

Make a difference

Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.
– Roberto Clemente

Roberto_ClementeToday Roberto Clemente would have turned 82.

Tomorrow the world marks World Humanitarian Day.

Coincidence?

Clemente was a great baseball player. He was an even greater humanitarian and human being.

I wear his jersey today as a reminder of his challenge to make a difference.

Feliz cumpleaños, Roberto. Te recuerdo.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Baseball, Photo

Make a difference

Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.
– Roberto Clemente

Roberto_ClementeToday Roberto Clemente would have turned 82.

Tomorrow the world marks World Humanitarian Day.

Coincidence?

Clemente was a great baseball player. He was an even greater humanitarian and human being.

I wear his jersey today as a reminder of his challenge to make a difference.

Feliz cumpleaños, Roberto. Te recuerdo.

See you along the Trail.

 

 

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Filed under Baseball, Human Rights, Pittsburgh Pirates

Arriba

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Standing in the sanctuary,
holding up the line
of those who sought to leave,
José and I spoke
of baseball present and baseball past,
and our conversation’s magic conjured you.

From the sea you rose,
to stride proudly across the beach,
pass through the mists
of memory and time and
take your place
on the green right field grass
of the stadium near
where two rivers end and one begins.

For a moment,
a fleeting moment,
an endless moment:
your good strong arm and lightning bat,
your graceful lope and glove of gold,
your passion for the game,
your commitment to humanity
back where they belong.

And a smile crosses my face.

And a tear fills my eye

And all is pain.

And all is well.

And all is well.

Arriba!

15 April 2012
Brooklyn and Manhattan

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Filed under Baseball, Poem