Posts Tagged ‘Major League Baseball’

Jackie Robinson Strong!

April 15, 2014

As most Americans were remembering the anniversary of the Boston Marathon  tragedy, I was remembering Jackie Robinson. Today is the 10th anniversary that Major League Baseball has celebrated Jackie Robinson Day.

It is a day where baseball fans get to see their favorite player wearing number 42. A day where baseball pays tribute to the man who broke the color barrier line but more importantly the man who revolutionize the game with his base running.

As a Jackie Robinson fan I must say that I was disappointed that the Dodgers were playing an away game at San Francisco on this day. It was my tradition to go to Dodger Stadium when the Dodgers played on Jackie Robinson Day. It doesnt make sense that the Dodgers would be playing away from their fans on such a special day.

May this day be a reminder of what Jackie Robinson stood for not just as a baseball player but as a human being. Let it be known that as the nation remembers Boston we paused and salute someone who stood up in the face of adversity on this day: Number 42. Mr. Robinson. Thank you Jackie!
JACKIE ROBINSON STRONG!!

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, Roberto Clemente.

August 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Roberto Clemente.

Happy 79th birthday to the greatest Latino baseball player in Major League History. Here is my 1972 Pittsburgh Pirates jersey of Clemente.
May we continue to carry Roberto Clemente’s legacy of reaching out to those in need wherever we go.
Roberto Clemente…PRESENTE!
AHORA…Y…SIEMPRE!!!

Remembering Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2011
Today is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Today we remember Jackie breaking baseball’s color barrier line in 1947. All managers, coaches and players will be wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am very happy that Major League Baseball retired his number in 1997 and for the past several years have honored Jackie Robinson on April 15th. I have always felt that Jackie Robinson is not only an iconic figure in the baseball world but should be remembered by all Americans. I think America needs to have a national holiday to remember the life of Jackie Robinson. A national holiday that will include a day of community service. Jackie Robinson would not have it any other way. Jackie was so humble that if he was alive today and seeing Major League Baseball using April 15th to honor him, Jackie would be the first one to say that he rather have Major League Baseball be dedicated to the needs of the community where there is a baseball team. He would still be addressing the issues of justice and equality in our society.

Number 42 to me is not only my favorite number but according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, number 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.” If that is the case, I would go as far as to say that Jackie’s number 42 was a code for America to change its evil ways. No longer must White baseball players play the game of baseball by discriminating players for the color of their skin. No longer must people of color be forced to go to separate bathrooms, stay in different hotels, eat isolated from White people, and be forced to live under an American Apartheid.

Jackie not only demonstrated America’s need to change its inhumane rules by the way he played the game but more importantly, how he carried himself in the baseball diamond. In order for the “noble experiment” to work, Jackie was forced to take all the abuse from white racist fans and opposing players. Even his own teammates didn’t want to play next to him or even share the same clubhouse. But, Jackie knew that many of his teammates didn’t care about the color Black but about the color Green. Robinson knew that as long as the Dodgers won a pennant or the World Series, he was helping his teammates get a good paycheck. Jackie once said, “Money is America’s God.” And to this day, this quote echoes throughout the whole world.

What people don’t know about Jackie is that even before he broke baseball’s color barrier line in 1947, he was always dedicated to the values of justice and equality. Once when he was in the military, he refused to get up from his seat and sit in the back of the bus. Jackie Robinson was court martial for standing up for his rights. In the military he and Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Joe Louis, advocated for the equal rights of African-American Soldiers. While Rosa Parks played an instrumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, I like to say that it was Jackie Robinson on July 6, 1944 who was probably the first African American to refuse his seat while riding a bus.

After retiring from baseball, Jackie played a tremendous role in American politics. He continued to fight for the rights of African-Americans in all sectors. He criticized the New York Yankees for being a team that only hired white people. He protested companies who didn’t hired African-Americans. On August 2, 1963, he joined workers who were picketing the construction site of Downstate Medical Center for allegations that Blacks were being discriminated from the hiring process. Jackie Robinson became great friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK once said, “Jackie Robinson was a legend and a symbol in his own time.”  In 1964, he co founded the Freedom National Bank, a commercial bank owned by African Americans and operated in Harlem, New York. Jackie was not only a co founder but he served as the bank’s first Chairman of the Board. Jackie also championed for the equal rights in the housing sector. His concern for the racial segregation in the housing sector and the conditions that African American families were living in, inspired Jackie Robinson to start The Jackie Robinson Construction Company in 1970 to construct housing for low income families. Jackie Robinson was one of America’s true pioneers during the Civil Rights Movement and people should not forget about that.

It is my tradition to go to Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day. Tonight I will proudly wear my Jackie Robinson jersey. I wear number 42 understanding that I continue Jackie’s legacy of fighting for justice and equality. I owe a tremendous gratitude to Jackie Robinson for the amazing human being that he was.

Jackie Robinson is not only my hero but a source of my inspiration. No human being should go through what Jackie Robinson went through. His courage and unbending spirit are like no other. Jackie Robinson lived his life with a purpose. He understood that our lives are to be used to make our world a better place. Jackie is quoted as saying, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Enjoy this great video on Jackie Robinson

Here are various pics of me wearing #42 to pay tribute to Jackie,
whether I’m throwing out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium,
riding a camel in the Jasailmer desert in India, playing softball
or just watching a Dodger game on Jackie Robinson Day.
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