I have from time to time explained the genesis of findingDulcinea’s “On This Day” feature. The feature offers a well researched exposition of a significant event that occurred on this day in history. It is a sharp contrast to the uninspiring, rote listing of historical events you find in most newspapers.
Readers agree, as On This Day has become our most popular feature by far. And few of the entries have generated as much favorable feedback as the one we publish on Dec. 31 regarding the plane crash that took the life of Roberto Clemente.
Clemente had a Baseball Hall of Fame career for the Pittsburgh Pirates, highlighted by his heroics in the World Series in 1971. And he was just as admirable on the social front, being active in so many causes in his native Puerto Rico, his adopted home city of Pittsburgh, and elsewhere in the world.
After a massive earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua, Clemente leveraged his fame to collect a massive amount relief supplies in Puerto Rico. He decided to spend New Year’s Eve flying to Nicaragua to ensure the supplies were delivered to those stricken by the disaster. Tragically, this gesture resulted in this noble figure being taken from us way too early, as the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
My young son wears a T-shirt with Clemente’s name and number on it; grown men stop him in the street with tears in their eyes as they speak admiringly of Clemente. When we first published the story a year ago, I sent the story around to a slew of friends today; a few wrote back to say they remembered exactly where they were when they heard the news.
And yet many people wrote back words along the lines of “how inspiring, how had I never heard of him?” With most current articles about our top athletes decidedly negative, we need to keep alive the memory of athletes such as Roberto Clemente, who had a mission in life that did not end when he crossed home plate.
Learn about many other famous historical events in the findingDulcinea On This Day archive.
Mark E. Moran
Founder and CEO