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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Cayey marks 50 years since Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th hit

Roberto Clemente’s sons and widow are shown with actor Modesto Lacén, at right.

By The Star Staff

Cayey Mayor Rolando Ortiz Velázquez announced Wednesday that the municipality is joining the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Roberto Clemente Walker’s 3,000th hit with the presentation of the short film “3,000: The Short Story,” created and directed by Skip Font in 2015 and starring Modesto Lacén as the Puerto Rican baseball icon.

“Roberto Clemente is one of the examples of all that we Puerto Ricans can achieve, and in Cayey, we have an additional satisfaction because our Pedro Montañez Stadium was one of the locations selected for the filming,” the mayor said.

Today, the short film will be presented to students at the Municipal Theater, where the Benigno Fernández García School band will also perform. For the general public, the presentation will be on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. on a giant screen in the remodeled Ramón Frade León public square in Cayey. After the transmission of the short film, there will be a recreation of the mythical game performed by members of the Los Toritos team.

“That afternoon on Saturday, September 30, 1972, became a historic date for baseball lovers around the world. That was the day Clemente Walker hit a double between left and center field that became the 3,000th hit of his career,” Ortiz Velázquez said. “Thus, the Pittsburgh Pirates player became at that moment the 11th player in Major League Baseball history to reach that mark, and, even more significantly, it was Clemente Walker’s last regular season hit.”

Clemente lost his life on Dec. 31 of that same year, along with four other people who boarded a four-engine DC-7 propeller cargo plane in San Juan, to travel to Nicaragua. It was a humanitarian trip, carrying containers of food, clothing and medicine for the victims of the earthquake that had destroyed the capital, Managua, on Dec. 23, 1972.

“Clemente’s legacy for all generations is to work hard and be consistent in the pursuit of excellence,” the Cayey mayor said. “In addition to the Most Valuable Player award, he received 12 Gold Glove awards, four National League batting titles, 12 All-Star selections, two World Series championships, plus the 3,000-hit milestone. That example remains for all generations.”

Lawmaker: Clemente’s story is a must in schools

Also on Wednesday, District 16 Rep. Eladio “Layito” Cardona Quiles filed House Bill 1483 to require the secretary of the Department of Education to incorporate in the curriculum of the physical education program at the elementary, intermediate and high school levels the teaching of Clemente’s life, work and sports and philanthropic legacies.

“As chairman of the House Recreation and Sports Committee, it is important that we can promote, through the country’s educational system, a sports education curriculum in which present and future generations can learn about and commemorate the sublime legacy of Roberto Clemente,” Cardona Quiles said.

The legislator emphasized that “almost 50 years after the physical departure of the baseball star, it is more important than ever to teach his legacy in the classrooms so that elementary, middle, and high school students learn about the life, legacy, and work, both sports and social, of this illustrious Puerto Rican, who even five decades after his death, continues to be an example that when sports are combined with social work, there are no borders.”

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