Last night during ESPN's coverage of the White Sox' romp over the Tigers, Joe Morgan and Ozzie Guillen disagreed about who was/is the best Puerto Rican to ever play Major League Baseball. Morgan supports the late great Roberto Clemente whilst Ozzie points to current Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez as the best player to emerge from that magical place where always the pineapples growing and always the coffee blossoms blowing.
Chicago Tribune blogger and beat writer Mark Gonzales fills us in:
So after Morgan expressed his opinion around the batting cage before Sunday night's game between the Sox and Tigers, Guillen calmly provided an unprintable two-word answer and then retreated to his office to gather evidence that his opinion was unbiased. Guillen returned with a button and sticker of Clemente. He also pulled a black-and-white photograph of Clemente from his wallet.
Oh, a button and a sticker and a photo! That proves everything! Gonzales also provides us with the stats:
Clemente: 18 seasons, 3,000 hits, .317 batting average, 240 home runs, 1,416 runs, 1,305 RBIs, 83 stolen bases, 15 all-star games, 12 Gold Glove awards.
Rodriguez: 18 seasons (entering 2008), 2,499 hits, .302 batting average, 288 home runs, 1,212 runs, 1,184 RBIs, 114 stolen bases, 14 all-star games, 13 Gold Glove awards.
Well this is all for naught. They're both awesome! Clemente was possibly the best National League right fielder in the 1960s, and Rodriguez was possibly the best American League catcher in the 1990s. How these two boneheads can possibly compare two players who were so different and had just one major thing in common (their homeland) is beyond me. Clemente was a great player and an amazing human being. Pudge Rodriguez is a great player and was (most likely incorrectly) fingered as a steroid user by Jose Canseco.
HOWEVA, if we're talking about the best player to emerge from the Dominican Republic, I gotta go with Chico Escuela.