Turn in your scripture if you will to read along with me, we can’t go to church, but we can still study Pirates Scripture and fellowship together.
Roberto’s Letter to the Braves 5-3 – Knowest thou not that Roberto has power? Surely, he showeth the best in thine game this day.
Brothers and Sisters, on May 3rd, 1955, Rookie Right Fielder Roberto Clemente stepped to the plate in the first inning against the Great Warren Spahn and belted his second career homerun against the Milwaukee Braves to lead off the game.
The great one was just beginning his career and showed the league he was here to stay by delivering a blow to one of the league’s best. Having just made his first start on April 17th against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Clemente was a relative unknown but was at the beginning of his pioneering career that would help deliver two championships to his new home and afford him the ability to help his original home at the same time.
Although this club would go 60-94, pieces including Clemente were starting to take shape. And this game in particular was an opportunity to have those who would become arguably the two best Right Fielders in the history of the game square off in the form of Clemente and Henry Aaron. If you had to put money on which one would hit a homerun, it wouldn’t have been Roberto.
Sports have played an important role in society throughout the history of our nation. Possibly none more so than racial and ethnic equality. Here were two men of color, shining bright in a game that only 8 years prior would not accept them, or at the very least let them play on the same field with Warren Spahn. Today, they were book ending him, one playing with him and the other facing him.
My friends, change can come and although it moves more slowly than any of us would like, our country has a long history of eventually getting it right. Much like Roberto didn’t stop after his second homerun and pretend he’d arrived; we too must never feel our journey is over. We must always strive to be better, to get better, to indeed do better.
These men wanted exactly one thing, a chance. When given their wish, they capitalized and became immortals in the lexicon of our history, transcending sport and becoming icons of their races as well. The pride of having Clemente in our franchise history should swell inside each and every one of you. A remarkable human being, who happened to be one of the very best to ever play the game of baseball, and he did it here, in our city.
Have a blessed day everyone and remember to try to see the positive side of everything we have together as a fan base.