For lunch we sat at the Jackie Robinson booth today at McCovey’s in Walnut Creek. It was an appropriate spot for January 1, as the memento casing at that table is a shrine to Roberto Clemente, who died in a plane crash 37 years ago today, on a humanitarian relief mission to Nicaragua.
A standout from my childhood and teens. In the Springs, circa 64-67, when there was a daylight doubleheader after a rainout, I would play hookie to watch Clemente from a front row seat in the “boxes” in the grand stand of right field at Forbes Field circa.
It was a tragic day for the City of Pittsburgh to awake that New Year’s Day to the news of Clemente’s death. Catcher Manny Sanguillen never got over the loss of his friend, making a point to play right field for the Pirates as his career waned.
Most sports simulations rank “The Great One” (coined by Pirate radio announcer for KDKA, Bob Prince) along side of Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers, who hit for more power but did not have the defense prowess of Roberto’s right arm that prevented runners from taking extra bases.