The A’s should retire Campaneris number 19

Former Oakland A’s shortstop Bert Campaneris is regarded as the best shortstop in Oakland A’s history winner of three consecutive World Series Championships. Campaneris is seen here seated for a 2012 photo (photo from wikipedia)

The A’s Should Retire Campaneris Number 19

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–Baseball is a generational sport. People grow-up watching their favorite players, they are engraved in their collective memories forever. It is passed from one generation to the next one.

Many times during The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame exhibits at Fanfest, All-Star Games, community and other events I have seen fathers telling their kids (as they watch an exhibit) “Billy, this was Minnie Miñoso, my favorite player as a kid”.

Players numbers are retired by teams to honor their past stars.Teams are proud to retire their legends numbers, not to mention it is also a smart marketing tool to sell more jerseys and merchandise for people to wear and use. It is a win-win situation for everybody.

On September 11 when the A’s host the Chicago White Sox, the Oakland A’s fans in attendance will receive a replica of #34 Dave Stewart’s number which will be officially retired by the team. Stewart is one of the A’s legends. As a great pitcher Dave Stewart was the heart and soul of the Oakland Community, specially during the 1989 World Series during the Loma Prieta earthquake.

One of the last pitchers in baseball to have four consecutive 20 game winning seasons, his famous “Death Stare” in the mound when he was pitching is remembered forever in the memories of A’s fans, as well as those hitters who faced him.

Another great Oakland A’s player is Cuban-born shortstop Dagoberto Blanco (Campy) Campaneris. Campy is the only Latino shortstop in history to have been a shortstop for three-consecutive World Series champion. The 1972-73-74 Oakland A’s. Campy will be in attendance as the A’s celebrate their 1972 World Series Champion team reunion on Saturday June 4 at the Oakland Coliseum.

Campy (now living in Arizona) is a shy and humble man who as the A’s lead-off hitter was the spark plug for those great championship teams of the early 1970’s. Many times I have spoken with Campy he has always cherished those great memories.

He is a baseball man to his core, his stories about the game are priceless. He still represents the Oakland A’s and is happy to sign autographs for fans when the A’s conduct their Spring Training camp in Arizona.

A few years ago I was called by CH 2 FOX to translate for Campy for an exclusive interview done by Mark Ibañez their sports anchor during Spring Training. Campy is so humble he told me “¿por qué quieren hablar conmigo?” trans- ‘why do they want to talk to me?”.

Reggie Jackson became a star with the Oakland A’s, and a mega star once he won two World Series championships and earned the nickname “Mr. October,” with the New York Yankees. Reggie said that those Yankee teams were inferior to the Oakland A’s teams that won back-to-back-to back championships in the 1970s with Jackson as its megastar, according to the man himself. Reggie (whose number 9 is retired by the A’s) always talks fondly about Campy Campaneris, “The Road Runner”, the man that ignited that great lineup.

Around 30 to 33 percent of all players in today’s game are Hispanic. The Oakland A’s always enjoyed very loyal Hispanic fans in the Bay Area and across the country and those that remember Campy will tell you he was an integral part of the “Swinging A’s” during his playing days.

I hope the Oakland Athletics consider the retirement of Campy Campaneris number 19. To this day, the A’s have not retired a number from one of their Latino players and I cannot think of a better person than Dagoberto Blanco (Campy) Campaneris. In the past I have suggested to A’s upper management the importance of retiring Campy Campaneris number 19. I hope in the near future they will. It is time.

These are the numbers retired to date by the Oakland A’s:

34 Rickey Henderson, 43 Dennis Eckersley, 9 Reggie Jackson, 27 Jim “Catfish” Hunter, 34 Rollie Fingers and Walter A. Haas, Jr, Owner.

Dagoberto “Blanco” Campaneris is in The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead Spanish play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s on flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Jackie Robinson Legacy is International

Jackie Robinson who broke the color line in Major League Baseball in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers takes a swing at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn (jackierobinson.com file photo)

Jackie Robinson Legacy is International

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

April 15,2020 marks the 73rd Anniversary of Jackie Robinson as the first African-American player in MLB,with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. His legacy and career was honored and his uniform number 42 retired by Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig 33 years ago on April 15,1997.

Robinson’s #42 was the first and only number retired by all MLB 30 teams. Generally people focus on African Americans who followed Robinson into baseball,but the great pioneer also opened the door for Black Latino players.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy goes beyond US borders.  Because of Robinson, Latino players of dark skin were also able to come and play in the big leagues with their American brothers.

Today almost 33 percent of all players in MLB are born in Latin America(higher percentage in the minor leagues)and after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier,some great Latino black players,like Cuban-born Orestes(Minnie) Miñoso who signed as a rookie in 1949 with the Cleveland Indians, before becoming the last player in baseball history to play for five (50 years) different decades.

Minnie played from 1949 until 1980. The Cuban-born Miñoso was the first unquestionable black Latin American in the major leagues, although some others with some black ancestry had played in MLB. By early 1950’s other Latino’s of black skin included, Luis Márquez(Puerto Rico)signed by the Boston Braves and Cuban catcher Rafael(Ray)Noble with the New York Giants as well as Ozzie Virgil Sr.from the Dominican Republic.

According to SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) in 1947; 98.3 perfect of players were white,0.9 percent African-American, 0.7 percent Latinos and 0.0 percent Asian. Decades later, especially in the mid 1950’s the great Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rico) and 1960’s many more came from Latin America, like Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Manny Mota, Felipe, Jesús and Mateo Alou, Tony Oliva, Luis Tiant, Leonardo(Leo) Cárdenas, Tony González, Francisco(Panchón)Herrera, José Cardenal, Dagoberto(Campy)Campaneris and more not mentioned.

Some of these Latino players are remembered with statues in the cities where they played,the one and only Roberto Clemente not only with a Statue at PNC Park but with the Roberto Clemente Bridge in downtown Pittsburgh over the Allegheny River.

Today all baseball fans around the world honor the great #42 Jackie Robinson,because he is also a historic figure in countries like Cuba, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Puerto Rico, México,Nicaragua,Venezuela, Jamaica and all countries where baseball is a major sport, not to mention in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

“I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect” -Jackie Robinson.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com