It’s hard for me to believe but its been 40 years today since “The Great One” Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico while on a humanitarian mission, taking relief supplies to earthquake torn Nicaragua.
I recall getting a phone call from a friend early in the morning on January 1st,1973. He told me Roberto Clemente had been killed in a plane crash. I was in shock but at first I didn’t quite believe him. Then I turned the television on and it was all over the television.
Roberto Clemente was Picasso on a baseball field. If you saw Roberto Clemente play you would forever remember it. I was lucky to have had the opportunity as a boy to have seen him countless times in person and on television. He was one of the few athletes who I couldn’t take my eyes off of. There was something special about him even when he was doing something routine like just walking up to the plate to bat.
Roberto was thirty-eight at the time of his death. He has now been dead longer than he was alive. There has been talk in recent years of having Major League Baseball retire his number 21 around the league like they did with Jackie Robinson a number of years ago. I think they should keep it an active number. There have been players over the past 40 years who wore the #21 to honor Clemente. I would like to see that continue.
”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