Monday, February 20, 2017
no. 630 - roberto clemente
Who is the man: Roberto Clemente struggled with a wrist injury and continued back problems in 1970, limiting him to 108 games. But he led the National League in batting right up until September until his back restricted his playing time.
Can ya dig it: Clemente's signature is a piece of art.
Right on: This is the last card I needed to complete this set. I didn't receive it until after I started the blog, but I was confident I'd land it before 629 cards had passed. I was fortunate that Captain Canuck sent me this copy.
You see that Clemente is a bad mother: One of the most revered ballplayers of all-time. The demand for Major League Baseball to retire his number 21 remains strong and that doesn't happen without being a bad-ass.
Shut your mouth: Clemente says he was kidnapped while on a road trip with the Pirates in San Diego during the 1969 season. Four men forced him into a car at gunpoint, stole his wallet and All-Star ring and Clemente feared he would die. The men eventually returned Clemente's items and brought him back to his hotel. He didn't discuss the incident publicly for more than a year. And it's the first time I've heard about it.
No one understands him but his woman: Topps, after calling Clemente by his proper first name in his first two cards (1955 and 1956), inexplicably starting referring to him as "Bob" in the 1957 set and didn't stop with that nonsense until he was back to "Roberto" in the 1970 set.
(A word about the back): Clemente is one of only two players to compete post-1950 to finish in the top 30 all-time in triples (166). The other is Stan Musial (177).