Happy New Year to you and yours.
NEW YORK, NY – Fifty years ago on New Years Eve, a DC-7 cargo plane crashed shortly after its 9:20 pm takeoff. Perishing was pilot Jerry Hill, co-pilot Arthur Rivera, engineer Francisco Matias, and Rafael Lozano, who was an associate to the other passenger aboard that flight.
Most of these names are unknown to society, except for the fifth passenger, Roberto Walker Clemente. The legendary Pittsburgh Pirates player and Pride of Puerto Rico was on a mission to Nicaragua. The tragedy has been well documented over the years, but the names of the other occupants has been hardly mentioned. They were simply identified as “four other passengers.”
Major Jerry Carroll Hill was 47 years old and the father of six children. His was the only body found, still strapped into the seat. Arthur Rivera, was president of Interstate Air Service Corp., which owned the plane. Not much else is known on the others, and that’s a damn shame. It makes you wonder, would even one Major League At Bat have given these “four other passengers” a profile?
Major League Baseball has once again dropped the ball. It would have been appropriate to finally retire Clemente’s number 21, as they did with Jackie’s 42. But for the mere fact that a patch on every player’s sleeve, to be worn during the entire 2022 season, wasn’t even thought about to honor Clemente’s death, shows how clueless MLB has become. That’s what happens when you flood the game with non-baseball personnel.
Another error goes to the media from back in the day, for not making more of the “Four other passengers.”
Clemente’s life has been well-documented. His heroics on and off the field are well known. On this New Years Eve of 2022 my mind is on the great Pirates player and those so called “four other passengers.”