Clemente’s Basement

I think it was 1987.

I went to San Juan Puerto Rico to do an installment of “Pirates Treasures” for the Pirates pregame show.

I knocked on the door of the last house that Roeberto Clemente lied in and was invited in by his wife, Vera.

We sat in the living room on the last couch that he had sat on, surrounded by the last pictures and mementos that had surrounded him.

Vera had not changed a thing in her home since her husband died on December 31st, 1972, including a huge, framed picture of him hanging over the mantel.

I remember noticing that the carpet was frayed.

We eventully made it down to the basement so that she could show me Roberto’s trophies.

I expected a trophy case.

Instead it was a bin. The kind of bin your next door neighbor might have for storing his bowling trophies.

She pulled out a few gold gloves and a silver bat.

A World Serie ring.

Old gloves and shoes.

Vera was storing them until the Roberto Clemente Sports City finished its museum.

I’m glad there wasn’t a trophy case.

It made what was a ridiculously memorable moment in my life even more memorable.

I remember the standup I did from the beach where Clemente’s plane went down.

I said nothing summed up his death better than the giant neon sign on Mt. Washington that, for three days, flashed a two word message.