Marvin Smith III
"As manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates I am proud to introduce to you the newest member of the Pittsburgh Pirates Mr. Roberto Clemente. He will now be taking a couple questions from you all media personnel." Said Mr. Brown
I stepped to the mic nervous like never before this was gonna be my first interview in American in front of respected media personnel. I mean, I knew english but I wasn't a great speaker I thought. The pits stains were starting form and I needed to hurry this up. "Hello everyone I wanna say that i'm proud to be a part of this organization and I would like to thank Both Mr.Rickey and Mr. Brown for giving me the opportunity to play baseball in the MLB it has alway been a dream. I will now take questions."
" Mr. Clemente here from the, I would like to say do you feel you are starting a wave or a movement in your country by being the first Puerto Rican baseball player in Major League Baseball?" Said the first reporter.
"Uhhh it feels great to be looked at in that way but the movement or wave as you said is doesn't here I want to get out and play and show the world that latinos and especially Puerto Ricans can play baseball." "Next Question?"
"Mr.Clemente what number will you choose?"Asked another reporter.
"I will probably wear number 21 or number 22, I don't really know yet." I replied I thought to myself if this is the questions they ask here in America this is going to be easy.
"Mr. Clemente Steve here from the Pittsburgh Times. Do you feel that as a different kind of minority do you feel you're going to have to prove yourself to not only your teammates but this entire city and country?"
Jeez these questions escalate and de escalate so quickly."I wouldn't say I feel pressure in having to prove myself but I feel pressure in I don't wanna let my teammates down, this management down, or this city down. So I would say that is where my pressure is coming from."
"This will be the last question for Mr.Clemente." said Mr. Brown.
"who is that one baseball player that you have always looked up to?" said the last reporter.
"I would have to say that it has been Jackie Robinson. Mr.Robinson not only is a great player but he has done so much to further the game for minorities. I hope I can at least accomplish a fraction of that. Thank you for all the questions and your time." I replied as I walked off the stage with Mr. Brown.
Roberto Clemente arrived in America from Puerto Rico as one of baseball's most promising prospects. In his time in Cuba as a professional baseball player he grew to become a star in Cuba, he was an exceptional athlete who gained recognition from many MLB. After a short stint in the minors with the Dodgers Roberto entered the the Rule 5 MLB draft. A rule 5 draft in baseball is in December and held at the baseball winter meetings of general managers. A rule 5 draft is to prevent MLB teams from stockpiling young players on their minor league affiliate when other Major League teams would be willing to play them in the majors. Clemente was picked by the Pittsburgh Pirates in a rule 5 draft for four thousand dollars.
After that press conference Roberto went out Forbes stadium where the pirates played by himself because he wanted to catch a moment to reflect. "I'm entering what Mr. Robinson created and I need to keep it going the road isn't going to be easy but its one I need to take, things need to progress further." Even while in the minor leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers Clemente faced a lot of racism and prejudice. Initially sadness and disappoint fell over him but he remembered baseball had only been desegregated for seven years a lot of work needed to be done in terms of racism.
Spring of 1955 Clemente was given the address to what he thought would be the would be the Pittsburgh Pirates team hotel for spring training. He arrived in Fort Myers Florida in area known as the "bottom". Clemente went to the address listed on the paper and knocked on the door.
"Hi i'm Mr. Roberto Clemente I play for the Pittsburgh Pirates and I understand this where my team and I will be staying for spring training."
"Hi Mr.Clemente we do understand this is where you will be staying we have everything set up for you, by the way my name is Etta Powell you can call me Etta". Immediately Clemente knew something wasn't right he contacted manager Fred Haney.
"What the hell is up with me staying a some randoms person home i'm a part of this team I should be at the team hotel with everybody else."Clemente said. The manager told Clemente "i'm sorry you have to stay there but you're Puerto Rican African American with no credibly in the Major Leagues. This just something you're gonna have deal with this." Clemente had the worst spring training of his career. Although he wasn't the only minority segregated from the team he was knew to all this. He thought he would equally get treated the same as whites because the footprint Jackie Robinson left in the game, but there was still work that needed be done.
The Pirates season that year was miserable they didn't reach the postseason and Clemente struggled in terms of statics to get use to the major leagues and he wasn't prepared for the hatred he had to face that season, but he promised that he would get better and it wasn't over by a long shot. 5 years passed and spring training for the 1960 season arrived. Clemente career had been going up every year since his first season in the major leagues. He had got acclimated to how each spring training was going go and knew how the game of baseball worked. The Pittsburgh Pirates as a team had continued to get better and this season was looking promising.
¨Clemente how do you get use this mistreatment I can't deal with this we are professionals and we deserve to be treated equal¨ Said a pirates rookie.
¨I look at things from a different perspective now that I've been in the league for a while. As a rookie it was hard adjusting to the segregation that was still involved in the majors but I dealt and let my play do the talking. I've realized that me enduring all this pain is gonna continue to help our sport progress, we have to do this stay strong.¨ replied clemente.
Clemente wasn't a person who was mean or outspoken he always remained calm and focused on making sure he was doing the best for his team. The Civil rights movement was happening not only in the world but in the sports world as well. He had to keep enduring the pain and racism because he was standing for something bigger than him and baseball.
Months later October arrived and this year the Pirates weren't at home watching the world series they were in it against the heavily favored yankees. Game 7 arrived bottom of the 9th inning Forbes Field home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The atmosphere was quiet but excited they knew the pirates were something special and this was their time to become kings of the majors. ¨Mazeroski hits it over the left field fence, the Pirates are champions folks we will see you next year the Pirates have done it." the announcer cried out.
Clemente ran on the field celebrating with his team but he stood for a moment on the field by himself to take everything in.
¨The years of enduring all this pain the struggle its all payed off. I've done it we've done it.¨ A tear strolled down his face not of sadness but knowing he was a household name in the world of sports and that him being an all-star that season didn't mean anything compared the gateway he opened for more hispanic and African American Athletes.
Years went by Clemente made numerous all star game appearances was a four time batting champion, National League MVP, and was coming off of winning a world series MVP after the Pirates captured their second world series title in 1971. The end of 1972 season came. Clemente had become a household name kids had his jersey, were saying they wanted to be him he had become a national figure in the world of sports.
¨I'm going to be spending time with my family this offseason and going to do charity work in some countries. I just need to get away from the game and consider if it's all over for me. Thank you all for your time."Clemente said as he wrapped his end of the year press conference.
¨Breaking news Roberto Clemente has been found dead in a plane crash while delivering charity good to children in Nicaragua.¨ it came across the TV and it shook the whole sports world. no athlete had ever brought a wave of fame for all the right things in sports. He may have died But Clemente left behind more than just stats and a title he left behind a way to live life and take advantage of opportunities whether hard or difficult. Because change cannot happen without taking risks.