The idea of a Latino in Major League Baseball is something like the idea of a white guy on a hockey team. That’s just how it is. Dominicans, Venezuelans, Cubans, Panamanians, Colombians, and of course, Boricuas: all unabashedly dominate the sport from the southern tip of Florida up to the frozen tundras of Canada.
Granted, Puerto Rican representation in the MLB has been waning over the last few years for a variety of reasons, but if there was ever anything equivalent to a Latino “color barrier,” Puerto Ricans broke it and opened the door for generations of players from across Latin America to dominate las ligas mayores. Then of course there was Roberto Clemente, who in addition to being Latino also happened to be afrodescendiente at a time when baseball was just starting to fumble its way through racial integration.
But none of that was enough to deter his world renowned humility and deep sense of social responsibility. So deep, in fact, that a filmmaker named Richard Rossi is leading a campaign to have Clemente canonized as a saint. Yes, a Catholic saint. So, let’s get Robertico a biopic already, amirite?
Actually, it turns out that the production company behind 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic, is doing just that. Yep, the baseball-crazy execs over at Legendary Pictures, in conjunction with Fuego Films, have bought the movie rights to a biography entitled “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero,” in addition to securing his life rights from the Clemente family.
It is unclear whether the film will focus on Clemente’s childhood in Carolina, Puerto Rico, his 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates (where he earned a .317 lifetime batting average), or his tragic and untimely death delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua; but Clemente’s truly exceptional life will undoubtedly provide them more than enough material for a compelling screenplay. Although the question still remains: who to cast?