Ozzie Guillen Riles Fans Over Clemente Commente

Ozzie Guillen does it again. The White Sox manager opened his mouth & managed to frazzle a few folks - this time it was the people of Puerto Rico.

Ozzie Guillen choke sign

The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that anger arose from Guillen’s comments about baseball legend and island favorite son Roberto Clemente. Ozzie said that he believed Clemente was only the third-best baseball product to come out of Puerto Rico, behind Ivan Rodriguez and Roberto Alomar.

Saying such is serious sacrilege to many fans of Clemente, the former Pittsburgh Pirate who amassed 3,000 hits in his career - and died tragically in a 1972 plane crash while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

“No one is going to take No. 1 away from Roberto for the moment,” said Ramiro Martinez, a retired Puerto Rican sports reporter who covered Clemente’s career beginning in the 1950s.

And the current Puerto Rican press also got in on the debate:

A local newspaper, Primera Hora, entered the debate Tuesday with two full pages comparing statistics from each of the three players and commentary that overwhelmingly favored Clemente.

Roberto Clemente

Guillen, who described himself as the “biggest Roberto Clemente fan on earth” (adding that he carries a picture of the slugger in his wallet), tried to explain his reasoning:

He elaborated Monday, saying he placed Rodriguez ahead of Clemente in part because he plays a more demanding position as a catcher and has endured the Texas heat for so many seasons.

“That’s my opinion,” said Guillen. “It doesn’t have to be the right one.”

But don’t tell that to Ozzie’s face. Just ask Joe Morgan.