Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, America discussed on Stuff You Should Know


Homed in on him right away. So yeah the pittsburgh. Pirates were Lead i think they're. Gm was branch rickey. Who is the guy who had scouted. Jackie robinson got him onto the dodgers now. He worked for the pirates so he ended up getting his hands on roberto clemente and brought him to the pirates. It's so apparently when They found out or when clemente found out that he had been drafted by the pirates. He's down in puerto rico and he said later on that he had. He didn't really know where pittsburgh was. He had been excited to play for new york. Because there's a big puerto rican community in new york and all of a sudden he sent off to pittsburgh doesn't know where it is and doesn't really know anybody so this is kind of as his entree into America but it actually was even rougher than that. Because i he started out I guess i'm pittsburgh's Minor league team or in. That's what it was. It was in spring. Training down in fort myers beach florida And he came face to face with the the stark reality of of basically jim. Crow south in the fifties First thing when he got to america and he he was one of the reasons. I said earlier the civil rights activists because he did not take very kindly to that and bristled in in railed against it from the outset. Yeah he didn't he didn't have any He doesn't have any frame of reference for this like he came from puerto. Rico were this wasn't a thing. He was of african descent so to americans he was a black man to him. He was puerto rican. He was caught between two worlds and didn't understand why he had to stay in a different hotel or eating a different restaurant than his white Teammates and so this really upset them and and what upset him even as much was how his other black teammates on the team understood it in just basically had to take it because they were afraid. If they caused a ruckus that it would be sent back down to the minors and he was just like you shouldn't be deferential. Like what's going on in this country. And he he would speak to the sporting press about this stuff in the sporting press either would just ignore his comments about that or actually yes they would ignore his comments about that and they would just talk about whatever he said about the game but then to kind of heap This sense that he was an outsider and outside outsider. There wasn't respected because he was looked down upon because of his race and his his Origin They would quote him phonetically in the press so when he said you know I think there was a headline. That famously said like i get a hit. I feel good but they spell it out like i get heat h. e. t. is how they spelled hit. I feel good. That was a headline in the pittsburgh news papers after a really big game and he found that extremely demeaning And actually really kind of framed. The way that he felt about america Yeah framed how he felt about america. And why don't forget like puerto. Rico was you know by this time it was an american territory have been for quite a while. So people in puerto rico had long considered themselves american people in america. Increasing sitter puerto ricans. They consider them and they. The roberto clemente was treated just like any other person from puerto rico which was not very well back. Then yes so. His reputation started to develop as a loner. It's very moody player The pirates were really bad team. I don't think we mentioned that At the time just terrible like one of the worst teams baseball. He didn't catch on in his first few years. They're either Think in his first five seasons the only hit over three hundred one time and a lot of this was due to injury. He had a car accident that hurt his back. So his back was all jacked up for a while He had other you know injuries along the way and he would. He wasn't shy about talking about it. He would complain to the manager complain to the press about his injuries. And this baseball still kind of this way or most sports are actually as you kinda. Don't take that stuff public. You don't wanna be seen as someone who Either fakes injury because they don't wanna play or who complains about it too much right so he. He didn't have the best reputation early on because a lot of this stuff. Yeah i know he was thought to be complainer. A hypochondriac moody Abrasive egotistical. And that was something. that like. That's indisputable as egotistical part. Because he was. He knew that he was playing better than he was getting credit for it and it ticked him off because he knew the reason he wasn't getting credit for was because he didn't act the way that the white sporting press expected him to act and they didn't like him for so they didn't really give them any any credit. They actually withheld credit. That was definitely do him for the way he was playing. But like you said. I mean it took a few years for him to start to catch on but even after he did which i began in the nineteen. Sixty world series When the pirates went from. I don't know if they went from worst to first but it was pretty close to something like that He was he was passed over as the world's series mvp I think like a a lefty relief. Pitcher got more votes than he did despite him being one of the clear. Heroes of that series And he really was not happy about that and it really kind of created this. This lifelong animosity with the sporting precedent. Already been brewing. But that one to him showed that he they were basically working against them at that point. Yeah and i think nineteen sixty was a pretty bittersweet ear because it was his breakout year If this status right. Dave says his average never dropped below three hundred. Yeah then that means he that means he was hitting three hundred in game one which is pretty remarkable To start out that hot and to maintain it over the course of a year right but if in playing winter ball in the caribbean just a couple of weeks before that it would make sense you know. Yeah and he You know they won the world series. Which is a big big deal in pittsburgh. But he didn't feel like he was getting his do like you said so. He didn't go off and celebrate with his fans He kind of went off to himself he was happy but it said The quote was. I'm happy but not but unconcerned with all the fanfare is what reporter said and he just wanted to get back home to puerto rico so he could use his world series bonus money to buy a house for his mother and he was loved there. So you know he wanted to get back to where he was Cherished in any did when he went back to puerto rico he was a national hero and the press like followed him everywhere he went and the kids loved him and he bought a big cadillac and mentor all the kids. So it's not like he went back like Like elvis in just sort of live high on the hog like he did go back a hero but he really really got involved with the community right away. Yeah he kept playing he would mentor little kids. Who were Learning to play sports in that actually became one of his dreams as he wanted to Make enough money and get big enough to build a sports complex a sports city or See dod deportes bad If i can pat myself on the back for that one where kids could learn to Play but also you know like you didn't have much of a role model kind of place you could find a role model to and not just play baseball but also play basketball or whatever sports You wanted to play. And i think that that was at the very least on his mind back. Then if not like one of his stated goals in his life by the time nineteen.

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