Connecting Home to Home #WATWB

Clemente Honored

In late August, I discovered something very special about my adopted hometown of Hartford, Connecticut – a special connection to my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I know, it’s baseball, but this was a special feel-good moment for me.

I was sitting with my best friend, looking around the newly opened Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium when something caught my attention. On the left side of the wall in center field was the number ‘21’ enshrined in the same fashion as the ‘42’ on the right side. ‘42’ is for Jackie Robinson – the number has been retired throughout the entire Major League Baseball (MLB) system. ‘21’ was Roberto Clemente’s number, but Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started playing for them the season after I was born and he died shortly after I graduated high school. Still a Pirate, still playing strong, he died in a plane crash while trying to deliver emergency supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake.

Fans still gather in Pittsburgh each year to honor, Roberto. This article talks about how current players honor him by giving back to the community.

“This is what baseball is truly about,” Roberto Clemente’s son, Luis Clemente, said Wednesday. “It’s about giving. It’s about spreading your wealth, your knowledge with everyone, and the guys do it very well,” Clemente said. “This is not a big effort from us — it’s a privilege to be here. And they really mean it with how they feel. When they were playing, you could see, they were not pretending — they were having fun.”

Although I missed this article in the Hartford Courant when it was published. it explains the reason for the ‘21’ on the Yard Goats scoreboard and Roberto Clemente’s picture that I noticed as we were walking to our seats.

“Roberto Clemente’s legacy lives on in the Greater Hartford area, where adults and children both continue to herald the accomplishments of this truly remarkable man”, Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon said. “It was important to us to celebrate his memory both on and off the field.”

“We’re ensuring that we honor the life and legacy of Roberto Clemente”, said Julio Concepcion, Majority Leader, Hartford City Council. “The impact Roberto Clemente continues to have, particularly in our Latino community, goes far beyond baseball.”

Unfortunately, Clemente’s home, Puerto Rico has recently suffered from a devastating hurricane. This is why I decided to share this story this month.


The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its seventh month of a scheduled 12-month run. The blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts are: Michelle Wallace, Shilpa Garg, Andrea Michaels, Peter Nena, and Emerald Barnes. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

62 thoughts on “Connecting Home to Home #WATWB

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  1. This is a wonderful piece, Dan. I remember reading about Clemente’s good deeds and I love that baseball has kept his legacy alive by helping others in these communities. I applaud the many honorable and loving sports figures that give of their time and money to those less fortunate.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Mary. That was such a sad day. When we walked in and I saw his picture, I felt like I was Home. Hartford is in lots of trouble financially. Maybe they can learn from Pittsburgh there, too (bankrupt twice, if I’m correct).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful man. He died in a selfless mission. A shared memory like that brings people closer together and makes the world a better place. And the fact that it involves sports surely solidifies his benevolent legacy.
    Thank you Dan. I’m co-hosting again this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Peter, for the comment and for co-hosting. I love that he is remembered for his selfless act as well as his remarkable talent on the field. I saw him play many times while I was growing up, and he was amazing to watch. He also loved playing for the Pirates – he said it was happy playing for the Pirates. The right field wall (his position) at PNC Park is 21 feet tall (his number) – he will not be forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Audrey – he was such a remarkable player. I saw him play many times while growing up and he was so much fun to watch. He died, trying to help others, and that will keep his memory alive longer than his on-field performance. I was shocked to see his number retired here in Hartford, but it feels good to be in this ball park, too.

      Like

  3. It does seem he was the sort of man that’s fallen out of fashion. I’m always delighted when people use their platforms for good. May his spirit live on through the deeds others do in his name.
    Glad you enjoyed the game!
    Love the bridge shot :)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. There are a lot of players doing stuff like this, maybe not on this scale, but nobody writes those stories. That’s why they started #WATWB.

      The Yard Goats lost, but we had a great time.

      Faith and I almost always walk across that bridge when we visit Pittsburgh. It’s one of (3) Sisters and they’re all beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thdnks. His son made an enormous plea to the Pirates a few years ago to end their losing streak at 20 years, do as not to connect the longest losing streak in MLB history with his father. I don’t know if it helped, but it did end at 20.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Clemente was a tremendous player, and an even better human being. It’s not for no reason that MLB’s annual award for best humanitarian effort is named for him.

    I’m glad the Yard Goats (where do they get these names?) are retiring his number. There’s word that MLB might retire his number across baseball, which creates a conundrum for the Braves, who’ve already retired #21 for Warren Spahn…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John. He really was the best. We used to go early to Forbes Field to watch batting/fielding practice. Other guys would throw to a cut-off man. He would beam the hall home from right field.

      I’m really glad the Yard Goats (public vote) did this. It’s very special to see.

      Like

  5. Anything baseball touches my heart and anything Roberto Clemente even more so. Through my oldest baseball-loving brother, I’ve long been aware of Clemente’s career, death and good works. I’m so glad you honored him in a blog; I, too have been thinking about the many fine baseball players who call Puerto Rico home.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked this Janet. The people, city, schools and churches in Hartford are sending stuff to the island and preparing to receive refugees. Not sure what the Feds are doing but people are always willing to help. Roberto gave his life trying to help. He will always have a special place. I’m going to enjoy watching the Yard Goats a little more now.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Dan – what a great story … I’m just sorry to read of the Clemente home being battered in the hurricane – the island seems to have suffered way too much. It’s excellent that they do remember him and his selfless act in trying to get aid to Nicaragua … love the idea of the 21 foot wall and then his number emblazoned on it … it certainly should inspire many kids to remember him and his good deed and leadership … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful legacy. I had forgotten the story so thank you for the reminder of a life – although way too short – that was well-lived.

    (I’m loving the “Yard Goats,” but having a hard time with “Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium.” Baseball and donuts just don’t go together in my mind.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you liked this. Dunkin’ Donuts is doing their best. You can get burgers served between donuts. They have a 7th inning stretch race between life size donut, coffee cup and iced coffee. When the Goats hit a home run, steam flies out of the big cup.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they might have still been in Brooklyn. They lost the right to him because they paid him too big a bonus. We got him as in the rookie draft even though the Dodgers had him a year, because they never put him on the active roster.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah, Clemente. I still have my Roberto shirt from back in the day. A friend of mine still talks of him with reverence both as an athlete and humanitarian. Good to know others are doing good things in his name.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. love the memories and what a tribute to baseball by sharing the quotes and text – that was cool
    also – cannot believe there is a Dunkin Donuts stadium – I smiled curiously when i read that and then when you shared a photo fo the sign – well right on. I was just surprised cos usually different corporations have stadiums – so that was cool

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s a minr league stadium, AA ball, but they have really done a nice job. This was the first year they played there, and it won 1st place in AA Stadiums in a review. Walking in and seeing Clemete’s photo hanging on the wall.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The sadness you must have felt brought to mind two of my sports heroes who died in accidents. Curiously, they have the same surname: Croatian Dražen Petrović, my basketball super hero, died in a car crash at 28 while playing in the NBA for New Jersey Nets but he made his name before playing for Cibona, Zagreb, and Yugoslav team.

    Rok Petrovič was a Slovenian Alpine skier who won almost all slalom races in one World Cup winter. He died at 27 in a scuba-diving accident. Both died in the same year, 1993.

    Tragic to hear of your hero. Peace to all of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Perfect time to post this, Dan, as you said, Puerto Rico is suffering. It seems that Clemente would have been out there supporting and assisting them, especially since it was his home. Thanks for bringing more awareness.

    I love baseball – one more game to go for my team, then off season. I will be watching some of the post season, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Emily. I think he would be helping Puerto Rico now, as many people and towns in and around Hartford (and other cities) are.

      Baseball will be over for me and the Pirates, today. I’ll watch some of the playoffs, but not with great interest (unless the Indians make a run for it).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was lucky to grow up watching him play. sad when he died, but surprised and very happy to see his number retired here in Hartford. Lots of people around here are working hard to send help to Puerto Rico and to find homes for refugees.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Dan, this ‘giving’ that has centred around Clemente’s generous life is wonderful. As is your gesture to post it for the Puerto Ricans. At the risk of sounding corny, I think you’ve hit a home run in this post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Thanks Simon. I was reluctant to go with baseball again, but this seemed so appropriate. There is a huge effort around here to send supplies to the island and to prepare to receive refugees. Many children and others will be displaced for months while repairs are underway.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I really enjoyed this post and thank you for sharing all that you did, including about baseball greats Roberto Clemente and Jackie Robinson, too.
    I think it makes things meaningful when connections are made. I agree, connecting Pittsburgh to Hartford really helps to feel like a “home away from home,” Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The kids in your first article look like they were having fun. I’m so glad to hear that so many athletes know the importance of community interaction. It is also interesting how certain things in our lives stay with us. Thank you for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB.

    Like

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