It used to be one of the superior reviews of my adolescence.
It took place 50 years in the past on an overcast day in Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 1972.
My Little League workforce had cheap-seat tickets in proper box in Three Rivers Stadium.
My dad and a few coaches took us to the sport and all folks had something on our minds:
Would our hero, Roberto Clemente, get his 3,000th hit that day?
At that point there have been handiest 10 different main league gamers who had reached that milestone — and we prayed he’d achieve it that day.
In the ground of the fourth inning Clemente overwhelmed a line-drive double and the stadium went wild.
My dad used to be leaping and shouting as all of us had been. It wasn’t simply a super second in sports activities, however a super second with my dad I can perpetually cherish.
I don’t practice main league baseball a lot anymore, partially as a result of my workforce, the Pirates, haven’t been excellent for a long time.
But I’m following the MLB’s playoffs this yr on account of one participant: New York Yankee famous person Aaron Judge.
Judge just lately broke Roger Maris’ American League house run checklist by way of hitting 62 in a single season.
Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa every hit greater than 61 house runs in a season within the past due Nineties, however allegations that their slugging energy used to be enhanced by way of performance-enhancing medicine lead some to conclude that Judge is the actual proprietor of the HR checklist.
That inside-baseball debate apart, the humbleness Judge presentations rings a bell in my memory of Clemente.
Both Clemente and Judge had been blessed with implausible presents to hit baseballs laborious and some distance and throw them rapid and with precision.
Clemente used to be now not arrogant in any respect about his abilities and accomplishments. He thanked God for all he’d been given.
First Things stories that “right through the 1972 season, when he used to be requested if he anticipated to get his 3,000th hit that yr, he mentioned:
“Well, you never know . . . . because God tells you how long you are going to be here, so you never know what can happen tomorrow.”
Clemente can be taken that yr on New Year’s Eve in a aircraft crash off the coast of his local Puerto Rico. He used to be on his method to ship aid provides to earthquake sufferers in Nicaragua.
Clemente used to be a lot more than some of the largest baseball gamers ever.
He used to be a super human being who used his status and affect to “open up clinics, schools, charities and an ambitious sports complex in his native Puerto Rico, to help rescue underprivileged and misdirected youth,” stories First Things.
Today Aaron Judge may be the usage of his status to provide again.
Adopted by way of his school-teacher oldsters the day after he used to be born in Sacramento, he praises his oldsters for giving him excellent values and a Christian upbringing.
When he slammed his record-breaking house run, he mentioned it used to be his honor that God put him able to take action.
When requested prior to the season about his baseball long term, Judge gave the New York Post a solution Clemente would have given: “It’s all in God’s hands.”
As for charitable endeavors, Judge is also the usage of his status and fortune to assist underprivileged youngsters from the neighborhood the place he grew up have an opportunity to flourish in lifestyles.
And that’s why the Yankees slugger has renewed my pastime in baseball. I certain hope he will get to exhibit his abilities within the 2022 World Series.
Tom Purcell’s column is sent by way of the Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Readers might write to him by way of e mail at Tom@TomPurcell.com.