Friday, October 12, 2018

The "Roberto Clemente Doodle" Brings Back Memories

Roberto Clemente, "El Magnifico," was honored on today's Google Doodle for Hispanic Heritage Month.

I saw him play live a couple of times when I was a boy in Pittsburgh, and followed him day by day on the radio, in the papers, on televised games. He was a splendid player, and it was impossible not to feel his larger-than-life personality.

It was New Years Day 1973 when we heard the news of Roberto Clemente's death on my Dad's radio. One of baseball's best players was personally supervising relief efforts to Nicaraguan earthquake victims because—since he was so admired and loved in the Caribbean—Roberto knew that he (and perhaps only he) could hold back corrupt Nicaraguan government and military agents' greed and guarantee the delivery of emergency supplies to the people.

However, the overloaded and poorly-maintenanced plane that he was accompanying crashed over the Atlantic ocean.

It was so sad and tragic, but also deeply moving and so much like him to give his life for others.

Not bad for a ten year old boy growing up with a man like Roberto Clemente for a hero. None of us where who were kids in Pittsburgh in those days will ever forget him.

He was indeed "The Great One."