Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

Ozzie vs. Puerto Rico

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Leave it to Ozzie Guillen to tick off an entire country.

News of the White Sox manager insisting in Detroit over the weekend that both Ivan “Pudge’’ Rodriguez and Roberto Alomar were the two best players to come out of Puerto Rico, ahead of icon Roberto Clemente, have started a backlash, according to the Associated Press.
Guillen made that statement, even though he has been a life-long collector of Clemente memorabilia, as well as giving his son, Oney, the middle name of Roberto, after Clemente.
“If Clemente had to squat behind that plate like Pudge does every day, he would have been out of the game in two years,’’ Guillen insisted on Monday. “People just want to be politically correct because of the way Clemente’s life ended [in a plane crash].’’
According to the AP story, Clemente’s son, Luis Roberto Clemente, learned of Guillen’s comments and said, “I am very certain and very at ease about what my father has accomplished. That is history that will never change.’’
It wasn’t all negative for Guillen, however, as a local Puerto Rican sports historian named Jorge Colon felt Guillen had a right to express his opinion.
“What happens is that Clemente is the most admired and loved, and we tend to be overprotective,’’ Colon said. “But there is nothing wrong in saying that other players have surpassed him.’’

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8 Comments

Luis Roberto Clemente couldn't have expressed it any better for the rest of us Puerto Ricans. Don't diss the man because he speaks his mind. Applaud him for including Pudge & Alomar in the same sentence with Clemente.
A note to Joe Morgan: I turn down the sound and listen to ESPN radio whenever you're on the tele.

This is off-topic, but wanted to point out it seems to be the same people chiming in here every blog post saying the "organization is horrible", in all caps no less, and that's it. Or something like "Boycott the team". Pointless. Can't those posts be ignored by whomever is approving them? If they have *some* point - anything - by all means let it through. Not trying to censor things. Does anyone agree? What's the point of needing approval otherwise?

I applaud Ozzie for including R Alomar in this discussion because he's the one who is really being slighted when Morgan claims Clemente was the best Spanglish speaking player ever.

Which player is more valuable to a team?
A: 90R, 90RBI, 5SB OR B: 100R, 80RBI, 30SB.

I'll take player B every year. That's R Alomar. Player A is Clemente & I-Rod.

Another ignorant comment by Ozzie. He is such an embarassment to this fine city. Why dont they fire him?

Comment should not have been made in the first place.

He should manage baseball---not ANYTHING else. This is his problem.

He stands as an utmost EMBARRASSMENT to this city and team.

It seems as though those who hate Ozzie will find something so wrong as to say he should be fired, when the statement is really not that inflammatory./b>

It's not as controversial a statement as some of you would make out. I think pitching has developed (as has hitting) during the time since Clemente. Alomar was one of the best fielding 2B of all time, won two World Series and sports a career .300 batting average with a .371 OBP. Add to that his average RBI production of 100 runs and 32 SB, and you've got one helluva player. Clemente had a higher batting average (.317) but lower OBP (.359), and was good for 94 runs per season. Clemente was a better RBI hitter but Alomar was the better all around player hitter.

So for Ozzie to mention Alomar as the best over Clemente is not so unwarranted.

I'm Puerto Rican and LOVE Roberto Clemente, but as has been said it's HIS opinion, so get over it. The guy carriers a picture or playing card of clemente in his friggin wallet, so just shut it. Alomar and Pudge are 2 of the finest players ever in baseball history and thank god Ozzie put that out there or else we just remember Alomar for spitting on that umpire back in 95 or 96. Go sox!

I'm also of Puerto Rican descent. I grew up in the Humboldt Park area and graduated from Roberto Clemente H.S. I did not find Ozzie's comments offensive. He has every right to speak his mind. There is nothing wrong with comparing Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's position and Roberto Alomar's statistic with Roberto Clemente's position and statistic's. When it comes to baseball stats, these are two out standing baseball players that deserve to be mentioned in the same category if not more so with Roberto Clemente. God Bless You Ozzie !!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on April 8, 2008 5:54 PM.

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