Baseball quiz: Honoring legendary Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente was one of the greatest baseball players on and off the field. I’ve indicated to you in the past that I’m older than infield dirt, and I did get to see Clemente. I didn’t see him frequently, yet even my young eyes could see generational greatness. I remember moments that were astounding. And while his hitting ranked among the greatest of all time, so many moments I remember were of him in the field, throwing a laser from right field, as effortlessly as a second baseman throws to first, and yet those pegs would amaze a runner as he was tagged out at third.

Then, of course, I remember his death and the disbelief that came with the news. That shock was soon superseded by sadness, further emphasized when I learned about the humanitarian mission this great man was on. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in the United States to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the nation’s history, culture and achievements. Today’s quiz is my contribution. Have fun, and learn a lot.

Buena suerte.

1. On Sept. 30, 1972, Clemente and the defending champion Pirates were playing the Mets at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. In the fourth inning, Clemente roped a double, the 3,000th and last regular-season hit of his career. He had over 1,200 plate appearances against four teams. Against which team did he have the most hits?

a. Cubs

b. Phillies

c. Dodgers

d. Giants

2. Four Puerto Rican-born players are in the Hall of Fame. Rank them by hits.

a. Ivan Rodriguez

b. Roberto Clemente

c. Orlando Cepeda

d. Roberto Alomar

3. Which pitcher was called the “Dominican Dandy”? He had a lifetime 23-8 record against the Cubs.

a. Pedro Martinez

b. Ervin Santana

c. Juan Marichal

d. Bartolo Colon

4. Of the same four, who leads all Dominican-born pitchers in wins?

a. Pedro Martinez

b. Ervin Santana

c. Juan Marichal

d. Bartolo Colon

5. Cuban-born Jose Abreu has fewer RBI than the following Cuban Hall of Famers. My question to you: Does he have more home runs than any of them?

a. Tony Perez

b. Minnie Mi?oso

c. Tony Oliva

The Roberto Clemente Award is bestowed annually to the player who best represents baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Every year, each MLB club nominates a player to be considered for the award in tribute to Clemente’s achievements and character.

6. The Cubs’ nominee for this prestigious honor contributed $300,000 to organizations that helped low-income communities in Chicago that were struck especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been vocal and taken action to address racial inequalities, helping bring Black youth and police officers together. In addition, among many other efforts, he has been a prominent contributor to Cubs Charities, with more than $166,000 in donations. He is:

a. Jason Heyward

b. Jason Heyward

c. Jason Heyward

d. Jason Heyward

7. The White Sox’ nominee for what I consider to be baseball’s most important award is a well-known activist. He has delivered meals to local minority business owners, shown his support and outreach for gay pride and spoken out against gun violence. He has a long history of adamant support for organizations focused on animal welfare, including Tony La Russa’s animal rescue foundation, One Tail at a Time, among others. His South Slydah Society focuses on serving those most in need and empowers selfless individuals and organizations that give a voice to underrepresented communities. He is:

a. Liam Hendriks

b. Liam Hendriks

c. Liam Hendriks

d. Liam Hendriks

8. On July 25, 1956, Clemente became the only player to hit a walk-off, inside-the-park grand slam. Which team was the victim of this event?

a. Dodgers (the team that first signed him; he hit .345 lifetime against them)

b. Cubs (this is the Chicago Sun-Times; he hit 41 homers against them)

c. Reds (he hit 40 homers against them)

d. Braves (he hit .329 with 25 homers against them)

9. This year marks the 50th anniversary of when the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star tragically died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972. Clemente was attempting to deliver supplies to:

a. Wildfire victims in Argentina

b. Earthquake victims in Nicaragua

c. Flooding victims in Santurce, Puerto Rico

d. Hurricane victims in Haiti

ANSWERS

1. If you picked the Cubs, you’re wrong. Clemente had 395 hits against the Dodgers, 384 against the Phillies, 374 against the Cubs and 339 against the Giants. Now, if I ask you against whom did he score the most runs, go with the Cubs (190).

2. Clemente, 3,000; Ivan Rodriguez 2,844; Roberto Alomar 2,724; and Orlando Cepeda 2,351.

3. Juan Marichal, who had one of the most beautiful windups in baseball history, was the “Dominican Dandy.” In the 1960s, Marichal led the majors in wins with 191, topping Bob Gibson, who “only” had 164.

4. Marichal was the “Dominican Dandy,” but Bartolo Colon was called “Big Sexy.” And if you think wins are sexy, in his 21-year MLB career, Colon had 247 wins, four more than Marichal, 28 more than Pedro Martinez and 96 more than Ervin Santana.

5. Tony Perez had 379, which is more than Abreu, but Abreu has more homers than Tony Oliva, who had 220, and Minnie Minoso, who had 195.

6. Jason Heyward, who still will do many great things.

7. Liam Hendriks. Also, Jake Diekman, now on the White Sox, is the nominee for the Red Sox. He has a foundation inspired by his ulcerative colitis diagnosis at age 10. His mantra “Gut it Out” inspired his recovery and his foundation. Outside of his foundation, he has been very involved with children’s hospitals through fundraisers and other support systems.

8. Clemente did it in a 9-8 win over the Cubs at Forbes Field. The Cubs had an 8-5 lead when, with the bases loaded, Roberto hit a ball to the left-field fence that rolled toward center field. Clemente ignored the stop sign of Pirates manager and third-base coach Bobby Bragan as the relay throw came in from center fielder Solly Drake to Ernie Banks to catcher Hobie Landrith. Clemente slid, missed the plate, then reached back to rest his hand on home.

9. On Dec. 23, 1972, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The resulting damage left between 4,000 and 11,000 dead, 20,000 injured and over 300,000 homeless. Clemente’s plane was overloaded with supplies to help the victims.

As always, thank you for reading and playing. I’m always looking for questions and themes for the weekly quiz. Email me at [email protected]

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