EDITOR’S NOTE: [The Giants have lost four-in-a-row, and were just swept by the A’s (ughhh!). So it’s a good time to go off Giants and remember other baseball giants and great moments in the amazin’ Punky G. Time Machine.]
We’re at Three Rivers Stadium for the last game of the Pittsburgh Pirates 1972 season. Roberto Clemente has 2,999 hits and the story goes he was not going to be in the lineup the last day. Bob Prince, the radio announcer for the Pirates, saw that and asked Clemente why he wasn’t in the lineup. Roberto said, “It’s good for marketing if I wait and get my 3,000th hit next year. It would help with season tickets and a lot of things.” And Bob told him to play because you never know what’s going to happen. In the fourth inning, Clemente doubled off New York left-hander Jon Matlack into the left-center field gap. After the hit all he did was stand on second base and tip his hat. Is was a very special moment.
Just three months later, Clemente was killed in a plane crash delivering earthquake relief to Nicaragua.
Umpire Doug Harvey hands Roberto Clemente the historic ball from his 3,000th hit on the field, September 30, 1972.