|Stories, favorites and great (2 Records)
Stories, favorites and great
|Roberto Clemente's example #EZ.38076 Exp 11-18|
Roberto Clemente died on New Year's Eve in 1972, taking supplies from his home in Puerto Rico to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In 1973 the game's award for charitable work was named after him in honor of his work - and tragic death - and his life.
During his 18-year career, Clemente was one of the most respected players in the game. With the perspective of history, he can be seen as a living bridge between a game whose players were all-American to one to fully embrace talent born outside the United States.
Clemente, who was signed by Branch Rickey shortly after the general manager left Brooklyn, toiled in the relative obscurity of Pittsburgh.
At first the Pirates were bad. When they got good, they were still in Pittsburgh.
Most fans could see the Bucs on television once or twice a year, if that. During the 1971 World Series, though, Clemente emphatically made his presence known.
Then 37 and oldest player on either team, he batted .414, getting at least one hit in every game, and won the Most Valuable Player award.
But those bald facts do not convey the reality of his athletic and aesthetic tour de force, in which he also displayed his arm and his base-running skills.
'He was just magic to watch,' teammate Steve Blass said.
In the locker room after the final victory, Clemente politely interrupted an interview to send a message home to his parents, in Spanish. He wanted to share his moment with the people and place he loved.
Using a complicated metric to combine everything that happens on the field, and some other statistical razzle-dazzle, Clemente is the highest rated right fielder in history. It's based on the number of runs he was worth over his career.
He won the MVP award once - beating out Sandy Koufax in 1966 - and from 1960 to 1972 finished among the top dozen nine times. He also won 4 batting titles and 12 straight Gold Gloves.
In his last regular season at-bat, he clubbed a double for his 3,000th hit, becoming the eleventh man to reach that milestone.
Athletically and culturally, Clemente was more than the sum of his statistics. While there had been Latin American players before, including from Puerto Rico, he was the first great one. And in important ways, he set the template for how Latin players should be created - the same, he insisted, as anyone else.
The poet Enrique Zorrilla caught Clemente's spirit when he said he had 'the fire of dignity.'
It was a fire heated in harsh conditions. When Clemente made the majors in 1955, at age 20, a number of teams still had no black players, segregation during spring training and in certain cities was the norm.
Clemente was black; in addition, at the time his English was limited. Sportswriters took cruel pleasure in reproducing his speech along the lines of 'Next time hup I heet ze ball' and 'I no play so gut yet.'
Over time he earned everyone else's respect, then a great deal of affection, and eventually something like reverence. By 1960 the Pirates' popular radio announcer, Bob Prince, shouted '!Arriba!, Roberto!' when he did something great. Fans made the phrase their own.
Clemente took the lead to insist the Pirates delay opening the season until after the funeral of his friend and hero, Martin Luther King Jr. In 1971, when Three Rivers Stadium opened, Roberto Clemente Night in July was one of the biggest occasions of the year. The place was packed - and the ceremony was in both Spanish and English.
In 1972, long established as one of the greats, he still stayed in dorms at Pirate City, where young players hung on his every word.
Remember stories of ballplayers quietly visiting kids in hospitals? Clemente actually did.
After his death, Puerto Rico declared three days of mourning.
The Pirates retired his number.
Major league baseball waived the five-year waiting period, and Clemente was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1973. Having played his entire career in Pittsburgh, he may be the player most closely associated with the team.
Clemente's unusual combination of athletic and human gifts has ensured he is not forgotten. There are Roberto Clemente schools and parks everywhere, as well as hospitals and sports leagues.
Best of all... may be the yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge over the Allegheny River. On game days it's closed to cars. Fans can walk across it, step past a Roberto Clemente statue, and see a ballgame.
|Warning signs - it could be your daughter #EZ.37394 Exp 11-18|
As a teacher, have you ever had one of your students fall from getting top marks to failing the class?
by Nathalia Ergon, former English teacher, counselor, lover of animals (1967-2003)
Answered Oct 4
Yes, and it’s a heartbreaking story. Kata was in my French class. She was bright, eager, and exceptionally talented—even gifted—in French. I could envision her becoming a translator in international business or in diplomatic assignments. I also had her in English class, and her writing was smooth, nearly flawless, and with surprising depth and understanding for a 16 year old.
Then she started dating Bud. Not much later, her grades began falling, not only in my class, but in all of them. Then she had frequent absences. When she did come to school—less and less—she was clearly out of it. Sleepy, stoned, overhung, or depressed and exhausted. In April of that year, she dropped out to finish her schooling in independent study.
It was obvious what Bud had done to her: destroy her with drugs, physical and emotional abuse. Where were her parents? Her father had recently died, and her mother was not coping with her own life.
Eventually she became pregnant, but Bud left her—a pregnant, jobless, drug addict.
Over the years, she has tried several times to get straight. She married another abusive person, and ultimately had two children. As she gets better and sober, she has partial custody of them. But more often she is incapable of caring for them and they live with other family members. I see Kata once in a while and I always take a few moments to talk with her. Her smile is as big and beautiful as ever, and she still has a warm caring way about her. But she is known in our small town as an addict who “destroys the lives of the women she partners with.” Not my words. She makes bad choices with her partners, whether women or men, and life gets harder and harder for her. She cannot keep a job. Her Facebook page is a sad and nearly pornographic mess.
Here was this beautiful, clever, and brilliant girl who could have been successful in any career, but in her junior year, she chose the wrong boyfriend. His abuse of her sent her self-esteem plummeting; lack of parental support made it worse, and the drugs finished her off.
Yes, we tried to help. By the time we were aware of what he had done to her, it was too late. She still tries to rehabilitate, either by her choice or the county’s choice, but soon she is back. The boy?
The boy? Well, he raped another girl in high school. The girl told me about it. Her parents did not file charges, He married, and while in the army, he shot and killed his year old son. It was determined to be accidental, but even his own brother did not believe that. I don’t know where he is now.