Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’

Happy 80th Birthday, Roberto Clemente!

August 18, 2014

Clemente21

Happy 80th Birthday to Roberto Clemente! As a baseball and Dodgers fan, Roberto Clemente is one of my all time heroes. This is what I wrote about Clemente last year, so will include it below in addition to couple videos on the pride of Puerto Rico. Enjoy!

Roberto was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. At an early age, Roberto started playing baseball. In 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered him a contract to play for their Triple-A team, the Montreal Royals. While with the Royals, Roberto didn’t play that much. He was often bench. Some say that the Dodgers were trying to guard him from the Rookie Draft of 1954. But, Clyde Sukeforth, a baseball scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates observed that Clemente was being bench and encouraged the Pirates to draft him. On November 22, 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Roberto Clemente in the Rookie Draft.

Roberto Clemente made his major league debut on April 17, 1955 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He didn’t do well in his rookie season due to being involved in a car accident midway thru the season. Roberto Clemente really exploded with the Pirates in the 1960s. He led the Pirates to a World Series victory over the Yankees in 1960. Clemente led the National League in Batting in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1967. He was the Most Valuable Player in 1966. He received numerous Gold Glove awards throughout the 60s for his outstanding defense. Clemente had a canon of an arm. He could throw a guy out at third base or home plate from right field. Players knew not to run on Clemente. He was one of the most amazing players to watch. He helped the Pirates win a second World Series in 1971 when the Pirates beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in seven games. He was named World Series MVP after hitting .414 and hitting a solo home run in the Pirates 2-1 victory in game 7 of the World Series.

Roberto Clemente struggled with injuries and in 1972 he only played in 102 games but ended batting .312 in the season. Roberto collected his 3,000 hit, a double of the Mets’ Jon Matlack in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates fans at Three Rivers Stadium. That would end up being his last hit in the major leagues.

Roberto Clemente was not an ordinary baseball player. He used the diamond to expressed one of his many gifts. Clemente was a great soul. He cared for the most marginalized. He demonstrated tremendous compassion to the poor. Following the 1972 season, there was a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Upon realizing that some of the aid that he had previously sent to Nicaragua was not reaching those affected by the earthquake but intercepted by the Somoza government, Roberto Clemente boarded a small airplane that was taking aid packages to the victims. The plane left from Puerto Rico on December 31, 1972 but mechanical problems forced the plane to crash into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Everyone from the Pirates attended Clemente’s memorial except his close friend and teammate, catcher, Manny Sanguillen, who decided to jump into the ocean in hopes of finding Roberto’s body. Roberto Clemente’s body was never found.

Roberto Clemente was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, becoming the first Latino to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Roberto was an amazing man. It takes a special man to go out of his way and coordinate emergency relief for victims of an earthquake in another country. Not only did Clemente orgazined relief funds but he put his family aside to personally go to Nicaragua and deliver the aid to the victims.

Major League Baseball (MLB) owes a lot to Roberto Clemente. I know that they have an award name after him for players who best follow Clemente’s humanitarian work but the award is not enough. It is time that Bud Selig, the commissioner of Baseball pays tribute to Clemente just the same way he did to Jackie Robinson. It is time for Clemente’s number 21 to be retired by all major league teams. Having his number 21 retired will send a powerful message that MLB truly honors and respects Clemente’s humanitarian work.

As a Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente fan, I think its only fair that 21 and 42 be the only numbers to be retired by all teams. Having 21 retired paves the way for MLB to have Roberto Clemente Days’ to be celebrated on August 18th as days where MLB will partner up with local community organizations and sponsor an organization that is doing amazing work on issues impacting that baseball’s town. In Los Angeles, it could be a grassroots organization working to end homelessness. In San Francisco, it could be an organization that advocates for equality when it comes to same sex marriages. In New York, it could be an organization that advocates for equal distribution of wealth and holds Wall Street thugs accountable to pay their share of taxes. In Pittsburgh, it could be an organization that brings awareness to the health conditions of the miners in Pennsylvania. If Major League Baseball had Roberto Clemente Days’ on August 18th, we will once again be demonstrating that Sports serves as a vehicle to address social issues that are not only impacting communities but putting the spotlight on community organizations who are making a difference in the lives of many Americans.

May we continue to keep Clemente’s legacy and spirit alive by living our lives for the greater good of others. Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Roberto Clemente lived by that quote. More importantly, he lived by his own quote, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth,”

Baseball Swing: All Star Jazz Baseball Concert

April 8, 2014

This past Friday night, I attended, Baseball Swing: An All Star Jazz Concert featuring some of the great baseball songs of the sport. It was not only a great concert but a very educational one. I listened to songs that I have never heard before. One song in particular that really was emotional to me was the song, 3rd Base, Dodger Stadium. The song tells the story about Chavez Ravine, the Mexican-American community that was kicked out of their land in the 1950s and eventually became the land where Dodger Stadium was built. As a Dodgers fan and Chicano, I am glad I came across this great song! I have added the song for those who have never heard this great song.

Another cool thing that I didn’t know and I am sure many baseball fans didn’t either was that the famous, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, song that is sung at every baseball game is just the chorus to a song about a women’s love for the game. At the concert/play, the “announcer” made a comment that the song could be interpreted as the first feminist song ever. Here is the complete song of: Take Me Out To The Ball Game.

I have added pictures of the play that I attended and I was able to squeeze a minute of my favorite Jackie Robinson song, Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball. Enjoy the pictures and the video.

Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball?

April 7, 2014


I attended a baseball jazz concert/play and they performed my favorite Jackie Robinson song. I wasn’t able to record the whole song but got almost half of it.
For those who want to hear the full song, here it is. Enjoy!

Happy 95th Birthday Jackie Robinson!

February 1, 2014

Yesterday was Jackie Robinson’s birthday. He would have been 95 years old.
I have written a lot about Jackie Robinson. Just type in Jackie’s name in the sear engine of my blog to find out the various articles I have written about my favorite player.
In honor of his birthday, I decided to include this movie about Jackie’s life where he portrays himself. This movie is better than the 42 movie that came out last year. I have my critiques of the film and I have included the link below for those who wish to know what they are:

https://victorjara42.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/jackie-robinson-fan-shares-thougts-on-42-the-movie/

I hope those who just know Jackie Robinson as a baseball player will come to know more about him from this film and from the thoughts that I have shared in the link above. Jackie was more than a Baseball player. He was a Revolutionary. A man who was involved in the Civil Rights Movement of our country. A man who believe in social justice and was a tireless human rights advocate after his baseball career. May we remember Jackie for being a true American Legend.
Happy Birthday Jackie!

The Anniversary of the Last Game at Ebbets Field

September 24, 2013

Today is the 56th anniversary of the last game played at Ebbets Field. The Brooklyn Dodgers would win the game 2-0 vs the Pirates. The Dodgers would go on to move to Los Angeles and the Brooklyn fans showed their displeasure of the move by not attending the last game. A little over 6,000 fans showed up.

MLB Needs To Retire Roberto Clemente’s Number

August 18, 2013

MLB Needs To Retire Roberto Clemente's Number

Today is Roberto Clemente’s birthday. He would have been 79 years old today. Roberto was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. At an early age, Roberto started playing baseball. In 1954, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered him a contract to play for their Triple-A team, the Montreal Royals. While with the Royals, Roberto didn’t play that much. He was often bench. Some say that the Dodgers were trying to guard him from the Rookie Draft of 1954. But, Clyde Sukeforth, a baseball scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates observed that Clemente was being bench and encouraged the Pirates to draft him. On November 22, 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Roberto Clemente in the Rookie Draft.

Roberto Clemente made his major league debut on April 17, 1955 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. He didn’t do well in his rookie season due to being involved in a car accident midway thru the season. Roberto Clemente really exploded with the Pirates in the 1960s. He led the Pirates to a World Series victory over the Yankees in 1960. Clemente led the National League in Batting in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1967. He was the Most Valuable Player in 1966. He received numerous Gold Glove awards throughout the 60s for his outstanding defense. Clemente had a canon of an arm. He could throw a guy out at third base or home plate from right field. Players knew not to run on Clemente. He was one of the most amazing players to watch. He helped the Pirates win a second World Series in 1971 when the Pirates beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in seven games. He was named World Series MVP after hitting .414 and hitting a solo home run in the Pirates 2-1 victory in game 7 of the World Series.

Roberto Clemente struggled with injuries and in 1972 he only played in 102 games but ended batting .312 in the season. Roberto collected his 3,000 hit, a double of the Mets’ Jon Matlack in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates fans at Three Rivers Stadium. That would end up being his last hit in the major leagues.

Roberto Clemente was not an ordinary baseball player. He used the diamond to expressed one of his many gifts. Clemente was a great soul. He cared for the most marginalized. He demonstrated tremendous compassion to the poor. Following the 1972 season, there was a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Upon realizing that some of the aid that he had previously sent to Nicaragua was not reaching those affected by the earthquake but intercepted by the Somoza government, Roberto Clemente boarded a small airplane that was taking aid packages to the victims. The plane left from Puerto Rico on December 31, 1972 but mechanical problems forced the plane to crash into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. Everyone from the Pirates attended Clemente’s memorial except his close friend and teammate, catcher, Manny Sanguillen, who decided to jump into the ocean in hopes of finding Roberto’s body. Roberto Clemente’s body was never found.

Roberto Clemente was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, becoming the first Latino to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Roberto was an amazing man. It takes a special man to go out of his way and coordinate emergency relief for victims of an earthquake in another country. Not only did Clemente orgazined relief funds but he put his family aside to personally go to Nicaragua and deliver the aid to the victims.

Major League Baseball (MLB) owes a lot to Roberto Clemente. I know that they have an award name after him for players who best follow Clemente’s humanitarian work but the award is not enough. It is time that Bud Selig, the commissioner of Baseball pays tribute to Clemente just the same way he did to Jackie Robinson. It is time for Clemente’s number 21 to be retired by all major league teams. Having his number 21 retired will send a powerful message that MLB truly honors and respects Clemente’s humanitarian work.

As a Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente fan, I think its only fair that 21 and 42 be the only numbers to be retired by all teams. Having 21 retired paves the way for MLB to have Roberto Clemente Days’ to be celebrated on August 18th as days where MLB will partner up with local community organizations and sponsor an organization that is doing amazing work on issues impacting that baseball’s town. In Los Angeles, it could be a grassroots organization working to end homelessness. In San Francisco, it could be an organization that advocates for equality when it comes to same sex marriages. In New York, it could be an organization that advocates for equal distribution of wealth and holds Wall Street thugs accountable to pay their share of taxes. In Pittsburgh, it could be an organization that brings awareness to the health conditions of the miners in Pennsylvania. If Major League Baseball had Roberto Clemente Days’ on August 18th, we will once again be demonstrating that Sports serves as a vehicle to address social issues that are not only impacting communities but putting the spotlight on community organizations who are making a difference in the lives of many Americans.

May we continue to keep Clemente’s legacy and spirit alive by living our lives for the greater good of others. Jackie Robinson once said, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Roberto Clemente lived by that quote. More importantly, he lived by his own quote, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this Earth,”

Happy Birthday, Pee Wee Reese

July 23, 2013


Reese n Jackie

Today is Pee Wee Reese birthday. I have added the pictures of the statute that portrays one of the greatest moments in baseball history.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field at a time when Southerners were saying racial slurs to Jackie and Pee Wee had his family from Louisville drive up to see the game. It was not in the best interest for Pee Wee Reese to put his arm around Jackie’s shoulder and yet he did.
Pee Wee was the first player to publicly show his support to Jackie Robinson. He will be forever remember for that simple gesture.
The statue sits on Coney Island in New York. I recommend any Dodgers fan who is in New York or planning on taking a trip to NY to make it a priority to take a picture of this historical statute.

Pictures of Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field

July 17, 2013

Pictures from Jackie Robinson Rotunda at Citi Field

Jackie Robinson Fan Shares Thoughts on 42 The Movie

July 16, 2013

42 Press ReleaseJackie Robinson Fan Shares Thougts on 42 The Movie

I had the great fortune to be one of the selective few to see 42 before it came out in theaters. I went to a pre-screen in Glendale, CA and was given a paper to share my comments and thoughts on the film. I went ahead and gave them my humble opinion on the film coming from a die hard Jackie Robinson fan. I have seen the movie about 3 times and this last one was at Dodger Stadium. The writer didn’t seem to take notice on my input, so I will share my thoughts on the film.

As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am thankful that someone took the time and energy to make a film on Mr. Robinson. 42, the true story of an American Legend, as it was coined takes the viewer on what Jackie Robinson had to go through before he broke Baseball’s color barrier line in 1947. It spends a great deal on the years before ’47 and then the rest of the movie is based on Jackie’s first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

I appreciated the part of the movie when Jackie was staying in Sanford, Fl, but was forced to leave due to receiving threats by white supremacist. Seeing the town Sanford made me think of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman being set free. I guess when put in context, Sanford has a history of being on the other side of justice and equality.

There are a lot of great moments in the movie. One of the most emotional scenes is when the Phillies manager keeps saying racial slurs to Jackie as he batting. When Jackie makes an out and goes into the dugout tunnel, he loses it. The first time I saw that scene I cried. Everytime I see it I get emotional.

42, is a good hollywood movie. But, I don’t know what was the ultimate goal of this film. If the goal was to show movie goers the struggles that Jackie Robinson went thru then I guess they succeeded. If it was to show Jackie, an American Legend, it failed.

Jackie Robinson is an American Legend and no one can deny that. But, 42, did not show anything that would make Americans who are not Baseball fans understand why Robinson is a legend.

The Baseball community has already embraced Jackie as an American Legend and we honor him every April 15 as we celebrate Jackie Robinson Day. Baseball remembers the day he broke baseball’s color barrier line and tries to use April 15 to carry his spirit and message of courage and determination as a reminder to all its players and fans of the struggles that Jackie went through to pave the way of our favorite baseball players.

The fact that the movie centers only on 1946 and ’47 does not give Robinson’s life any justice. The movie doesn’t mention anything about Jackie being forced to take all the hate and racial slurs for 2 years. It doesn’t make any reference to 1949, when he was allowed to speak his mind, when the Dodgers brought in Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, making them the first African American battery in Major League Baseball. It doesn’t mention how in 1949, he was the National Leagues’ MVP.

Jackie Robinson would soon understand that he was a commodity for baseball, saying, “America’s favorite color is green.” And, “Money is America’s God.”

What the film failed to show was Jackie Robinson’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Before, Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, Jackie had done the same thing in 1945 and got court martial for it. The film made a brief reference but could’ve gone a little further. Jackie was a social conscious person who shared the same spirit of Roberto Clemente, as he famously stated, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Jackie lived by this quote. Now that he was able to speak his mind, Robinson publicly called the New York Yankees, a racist organization for not hiring a black player 5 years after he broke baseball’s apartheid system. After baseball, he was greatly involved in the struggles to better the lives of African Americans. One could see him with Martin Luther King, Jr. and sharing King’s nonviolent strategy on the Civil Rights Movement. He had his differences with Malcolm and those were publicly chronicled.

Jackie Robinson started a construction company to build affordable housing for African Americans. He join other picketers on the front lines protesting the lack of construction jobs given to African Americans. And in his autobiography, I Never Had It Made, he went on to say, “I cannot possibly believe I have it made while so many of my black brothers and sisters are hungry, inadequately housed, insufficiently clothed, denied their dignity as they live in slums or barely exist on welfare. I cannot say I have it made while our country drives full speed ahead to deeper rifts between men and women of varying colors, speeds along a course towards more and more racism.” Robinson later on adds, “I have devoted and dedicated my life to service…till every child can have an equal opportunity in youth and manhood; until hunger is not only immoral but illegal; until hatred is recognized as a disease, a scourge, an epidemic, and treated as such; until racism and sexism and narcotics are conquered and until…that day Jackie Robinson and no one else can say he has it made.”

The movie failed to show this other side of Robinson, the side that would have made non baseball fans understand why Jackie is an American Legend. They would have had several references to why Robinson is one of the unknown American Legends aside from breaking baseball’s color barrier line.

To give 42 justice would have been to make a movie that broadly chronicles Robinson’s life during and after his playing career. A better name for the movie would have been 1947: How Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s apartheid system.

Here is a great article that people will find interesting to read.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/04/the-real-story-of-baseballs-integration-that-you-wont-see-in-i-42-i/274886/

I Can’t Forget Ya’ Campanella by Dennis Massa

May 8, 2013

This is a great song by Dennis Massa that pays a beautiful tribute to Roy Campanella, one of the greatest catchers to ever play the game.