Puerto Rico's Hero
Sept. 30, 1972 - Roberto Clemente came to the ballpark in Pittsburgh after a sleepless night because of all the telephone calls from New York and Puerto Rico following his near-miss in getting his 3,000th hit the night before. Clemente, who had complained bitterly when he felt the official scorer deprived him of his historic hit, finally achieved his cherished goal when he stroked a long double to left-center off Mets lefthander Jon Matlack in the fourth inning.
The Pirate rightfielder became the 11th major leaguer to reach 3,000 hits.
"I'd rather have it this way," Clemente said after the 5-0 victory, somewhat repentant for his outburst of the previous night.
Nobody knew it at the time, but this was Clemente's final regular-season at-bat. Three months later, on a flight from Puerto Rico loaded with relief supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua, Clemente died in a plane crash.
Odds 'n' Ends