2022 is the “Year of Roberto Clemente” – New York Amsterdam News

This has been a momentous year for those who evoke the name of Roberto Clemente, the great Afro-Puerto Rican baseball player, 12-time Golden Glove winner, five-time National League champion, two-time World Series champion (1960 and 1971) and 1971 World Players Most Valuable Player. Valuable in his 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates 1955-1972.

Clemente hit his historic 3000th goal on September 30, 1972, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh versus the New York Mets, the first Latino to reach the milestone. Tragically, three months later, on December 31, Clemente and four other people perished when their DC-7 crashed while trying to bring food and medical supplies to the residents of earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. Clemente posthumously became the first Latina player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Puerto Rican government has officially declared 2022 the “Year of Roberto Clemente” and with the passing of July on Law 61-2022, the island’s legislature agreed to put Clemente’s name on the list of national heroes. He is remembered as one of the greatest baseball players the game has ever seen, a compassionate humanitarian and a passionate advocate for racial and social justice.

As an activist who encouraged sports activities among youth, Clemente admired Martin Luther King Jr. and once spent an afternoon with him on his farm in Puerto Rico. Major League Baseball was scheduled to open its season four days after King’s assassination in 1968. “When Martin Luther King died, Clemente later commented, ‘They come and ask’ [Black] players if we should play. I say if you have to ask [Black] Players, then we don’t have a great country.”

“What remains powerful to me, is similar to the way Clemente inspired other players,” said Adrian Burgos, Jr., professor of history at the University of Illinois and author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and Streamers.

“The one that really comes to mind is Carlos Delgado, who has been candid about Vieques and [U.S.] The Navy and the bombings they were doing in Vieques, not standing for the national anthem. He pointed out to himself, “Burgos expanded,” that Clemente was his inspiration because these were the kinds of things Clemente wanted to express; For those who don’t have a platform. Yes, he literally said that’s what we’re supposed to do.”