December 23, 1972
In the thread about when did you become a Steeler fan, I mentioned this date as the day I became a Steeler fan. This is of course the day of the Immaculate Reception. Captain Lemming pointed out it was also the day of the earthquake in Nicaragua. I never really thought about it or put the two together but in reality it is a great day as well as a bad day for Pittsburgh sports fans. On that day Pittsburgh sports fans saw the birth/beginning of what would become a dynasty (Steelers), yet it is also the day that would result in Pittsburgh sports fans losing an Icon/Legend (Roberto Clemente). Due to the earthquake that happened on that day in Nicaragua, Clemente would board a plane 8 days later to deliver emergency relief aid packages to that country. As we all know his plane crashed and he was killed.
I will admit I am not a Pirates fan (Reds fan), so I probably have overlooked it for that reason. I'm sure those here who are Pirates fans have made that connection since the time that these two things happened....maybe? Maybe not?
Interesting to hear what others have to say about this. I loved Clemente's game and even though not a Pirates fan I appreciated all that he was on and off the field.
Clemente's my favorite Pittsburgh athlete of all time.
I don't remember many people in Pittsburgh caring much about the Steelers in 72. But in 72, we were 1 year away from Clemente being World Series MVP and it was the same year he got his 3000th hit which seemed to be a lot more important than the Immaculate Reception at the time.
Clemente probably experienced even more hatred than Jackie Robinson who I think started playing the MLB less than 10 years earlier. On top of being colored, he was foreign and barely spoke the language. And I'm not sure he ever got the complete respect he deserved. If you think about society even today, black folks are completely integrated and accepted by everyone. Foreigners are still despised to this day by the masses. I bet he had an even rougher go of it than Robinson.
There never has been such a well rounded player in baseball imho. His hitting was special - he could hit balls a foot outside the strike zone. He had power breaking Bob Gibson's leg with a line drive. He ran like a gazelle around the bases and seemed to end up on 3rd base any time he hit the ball. He was the best fielding outfielder with a cannon for an arm. It was like God created the baseball playing mold just for him.
And despite all the hatred aimed toward him, he choose to live life above it. And for some reason he was motivated to give back. And the only reason he went on the flight to Nicaragua was because the supplies he was sending were being stolen and not making it to the people who needed them. So he went on one of the flights himself. I always thought that story was so odd. If no one stole the supplies he was sending he would have never gone and died as a result. I always think about that specifically when I think of the impact little things can have in this world.
As a Reds fan, Clemente played his last game in Cincy in the playoffs in 72.
I was just being silly, pretending not to know it was the day of the Immaculate Reception when you just put the date out.
Originally Posted by Dee Dub
I just looked up what happenned that day, and I saw the earthquake.
Boy now I feel bad for making light of what was a real tragedy.
Gotta be more careful next time
No..I dont think you did anything wrong. In fact you brought light to something I hadn't really thought about. That day has a lot of significance to Pittsburgh sports fans.
Originally Posted by Captain Lemming
Honesty, I think that whole thing would make for a great ESPN 30 for 30.
The Great One was (is) my favorite of all athletes, too. As a kid, I would go to Forbes, sit out along the right field line so I could watch him close as possible. My father would come along later from work to join me there. I remember vividly several plays he made while I watched on. His arm was incredible, line-drive throws from deep right-center on the fly to the belt buckle of the 3rd baseman. Once he decoyed runners on 1st and 2nd on a short fly ball to shallow right field, as if he was going to catch the ball but it dropped in front of him and he threw the runner out at 3rd. And once I say him hit a line drive to center field that took one bounce and cleared the wall at the 427' marker ... amazing power. And who could ever forget those triples, flying around second, hat flying off, and sliding into 3rd. Nobody I've every seen ran with a flair and powerful speedy elegance ... inimitable style. His death was a great loss to me. I have his picture and a newspaper article about him for from the 40th anniversary of his passing .... it is on my office wall at work.
Originally Posted by flippy
I've got a framed poster sized photo in my man cave along with a few other Clemente pieces. I always thought he galloped like a horse the way he ran. I've never seen another human run like he did. I was in Puerto Rico a few years ago for the first time and there's so much Clemente influence there. They might as well just rename that island.
Originally Posted by DukieBoy
About a month ago I saw a movie called Chasing 3000. Not the greatest movie, but it brought back some good memories.
Originally Posted by flippy
Saw that movie too. Connected to memories. It was good to see.
Clemente is my favorite Pittsburgh athlete of all time as well; going to Pirate games was a special treat to watch him play and it was even more fun to get to the park early and watch him warm up. He would make throws to first base on the off chance that a batter would hit a one hopper to him and jog to first and he would try and throw them out (I don't think any outfielders in the history of the game threw behind more runners than Clemente.). His throws to third base were things of beauty they seemed to fly so effortlessly barely off the ground and one hop to the third baseman. His power was in the alleys and at Forbes field there was a lot alley if he got one between the outfielders, then you got to watch him run arms flailing and always watching the ball.
Wow, I forgot how good he was, thanks for turning back the hands of time for a few minutes, that was fun. I can still see him in my minds eye perched on second base after his 3,000 hit (as it turns out it was his last hit as well) tipping his hat, always a class act.