Michael McGough writing in the Los Angles Times reports a movement to declare Roberto Clemente a saint:
At my Catholic boys high school in Pittsburgh, every class began with a prayer. Although prayers were usually led by teachers, our freshman history teacher Mr. Wynn subcontracted the job to students. Eager to delay the actual lesson, we prolonged the prayers with some facetious embellishments. I remember a witty kid named Robert McNulty intoning: “St. Roberto of Clemente, pray for us.”
For someone other than a martyr to qualify as a saint, his advocates must be able to point to two miracles traceable to the candidate’s intercession.
Roberto Clemente, of course, was the legendary Pittsburgh Pirates rightfielder who was to die on New Year’s Eve of 1972 when his plane delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed into the sea.
Little did McNulty know! This week I received an email from Richard Rossi, a Pittsburgh native now living in Los Angeles who is leading a campaign to have Clemente canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Rossi is the director of the film “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories.” (21 was the number of Clemente’s jersey.)
He has always be a hero for me — and all of us here at the Church of Baseball support this idea.