Thursday, January 28, 2010

"We Remember Roberto" The story of Roberto Clemente from Edcon Publishing.

Not just baseball fans will remember the great Roberto Clemente. Places you will read about: "Puerto Rico", an island southeast of the United States. "Nicaragua", the largest country in Central America.

Things you will read about: "danzas", a lively type of music that tells of the happiness and sadness of the Puerto Rican people. "National League", one of the two big baseball leagues in the United States.

Most of the people in the small town of Carolina in Puerto Rico were out in the streets, dancing to gay Spanish music and setting off fireworks. It was New Year's Eve, a time for celebration.
At about four o'clock in the morning, the few people who were still in their homes came out. But it wasn't to join the celebration. With horror on their faces, they sobbed the news:
"The radio just announced I that Roberto's plane has crashed into the sea!" Roberto Clemente was dead.

Puerto Rico had lost its national hero. Baseball had lost one of its greatest stars. And the world had lost a generous, loving man who had spent many years helping others.

How far Roberto had come from the time he was a skinny boy hitting tin cans with a broomstick on a dusty Carolina street! He was a quiet, shy boy in school. And how he enjoyed listening to records of Puerto Rico's native music, the danzas.

But out on an athletic field, the quiet, shy boy turned into a fiery player. He was an excellent high jumper, and he could throw and hit a softball great distances. The school's athletic coaches recognized sixteen year-old Roberto's unusual talent and encouraged him to make baseball his future.

After four years with teams in Puerto Rico, Roberto's unusual talent came to the attention of the big league baseball clubs in the United States. In 1954, he was hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates, a last place team. Roberto soon changed it into a winning one.

Roberto's hitting thrilled the Pittsburgh fans. He could hit any kind of pitch thrown to him - inside, outside, or down the middle. Pitchers nearly went crazy trying to figure out what kind of pitch he couldn't hit. In his eighteen years with the Pirates, he collected 3,000 hits; a record held by only ten other men before him in the history of baseball.

In the outfield, Roberto amazed everyone with his throwing arm, an arm that frightened runners on every base. After all, he led the National League five times in throwing base runners out. And how his catches thrilled the fans! Roberto ran into walls and fences. He dove into the stands. He fell flat on his stomach. He did all this to make catches that seemed impossible.
Off the field, Roberto spent much of his free time 'working with children. During the winter months, he would return to Puerto Rico and talk to them. He talked about sports, and about being good citizens, and about respecting one's parents.

But Roberto wanted to do more than talk. Roberto had a dream, the dream of building a "Sports City" to benefit the children of Puerto Rico. At Sports City, children would play on the best fields, use the best athletic equipment, and learn from the best coaches. And they would learn to be good citizens. It would cost over two million dollars to build, but it would be free for children.

Sports City became Roberto's life dream. But an earthquake in the Central American country of Nicaragua prevented Roberto from making his dream come true. The earthquake, in December 1972, hit Nicaragua's capital city. Roberto had made many friends there just a few months earlier when the team from Puerto Rico, that he was managing, played the team from Nicaragua's capital in a "little world series."

Roberto immediately began a drive to collect food, clothing, and medicine to benefit the victims of the earthquake. He went on radio to appeal for money. He went from door to door appealing for help. Soon, $150,000 plus tons of supplies were collected. It was time to send them to Nicaragua. Roberto spent hours at the airport helping to load the big, four-engine plane. Then, at the last minute, he decided to go along. He wanted to make sure that the supplies reached the victims who needed them most desperately .

Moments later Roberto kissed his wife and three sons good-bye, the heavy plane took off from an airport in Puerto Rico. It climbed slowly in the darkness, banking to the left. Then it suddenly crashed into the ocean.

As word spread over the island, thousands of people lined the beaches, watching in horror as boats, planes, and divers searched the heavy seas. Several hours later, the wreck was discovered a mile and a half from shore, buried in 100 feet of water. The pilot's body was found, but Roberto had disappeared without a trace.

In memory of Roberto, tearful people took down their holiday ornaments. They replaced them with black flags. In memory of Roberto, radio stations kept their regular programs from the air. They played only the danzas Roberto had loved so much.

And in memory of Roberto, baseball fans all over the world started raising money. They wanted to make his dream of Sports City come true. By March 1975, more than $500,000 had been raised, and building began. The dream that Roberto couldn't make come true during his lifetime is coming true after his death. Although he is gone, his dream will help others. Through the Roberto Clemente Sports City, the memory of the man who gave everything, including his life, lives on.


1. The people of Carolina learned of Roberto's death _______________ .
a. in the newspapers
b. over the radio
c. from his athletic coaches
d. from his wife

2. As a boy in school, Roberto was _______________ .
a. quiet and shy
b. a national hero
c. the class clown
d. a big bully

3. Pitchers had trouble pitching to Roberto because _______________ .
a. he was so short
b. he never stood still
c. he hit all kinds of pitches
d. he was very careful

4. Roberto's strong arm made it easy for him to _______________ .
a. to fight with other players
b. to throw balls to fans in the stands
c. to throw base runners out
d. to run into walls and fences

5. Roberto was the kind of baseball player who _______________ .
a. was interested in setting records
b. wouldn't help anyone learn the game
c. was always afraid of getting hurt
d. gave everything he had to the game

6. Roberto's life dream was __________________ .
a. to be the best player on the Pittsburgh Pirates
b. to build a Sports City for children
c. to leave Puerto Rico forever
d. to discover why earthquakes happened

7. Roberto's plane crashed _______________ .
a. at an airport in Puerto Rico
b. in the country of Nicaragua
c. near the shore of Puerto Rico
d. in the middle of the jungle

8. Roberto Clemente Sports City was built with money raised by _______________ .
a. the Puerto Rican Government
b. the people of Nicaragua
c. the city of Pittsburgh
d. baseball fans all over the world

9. Another name for this story could be _______________
a. "Puerto Rico's Happy New Year."
b. "Pittsburgh's Winning Team."
c. "Victims of the Earthquake."
d. "A Hero On and Off the Field."

10. This story is mainly about _______________ .
a. a baseball player who was hurt many times
b. a baseball player who was a star on and off the field
c. the training baseball players get in Pittsburgh
d. an airplane crash which killed hundreds of people

Roberto Clemente Tribute with music from Youtube:

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