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Clemente's Angry Over Snub


Roberto Clemente's family is angry he wasn't voted to baseball's All-Century team, and commissioner Bud Selig didn't rule out the possibility he could be added.

"The Hispanic community is in an uproar," Roberto Clemente Jr. said Tuesday night before the third game of the World Series. "I hope they won't boycott baseball, because that is something I have some difficulty with."

His brother, Luis, said there has been talk in the Hispanic community from phone calls in Puerto Rico to e-mail to the Roberto Clemente Web site of a possible boycott of MasterCard, the All-Century team's sponsor. Luis Clemente said his mother, Vera, also was surprised. The entire family spoke before the game in presenting this year's Roberto Clemente Award to San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn.

"My mother's comments were she was very sad to watch all the other players from the same era walking around the stage before the game and she felt worse when he was not even mentioned."

Clemente, who died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, accompanying relief supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake, finished 10th in fan voting for outfielders. Nine outfielders were voted to the squad, and Stan Musial, who finished 11th in voting, was among the five players added by a special panel.

Clemente won 12 Gold Gloves and four batting titles and played in 12 straight All-Star games, finishing with a .317 average, 3,000 hits and 240 home runs.

"There is no question on my mind that he deserved to be on the team," Selig said. "However, we opened it up for voting and that's the way the votes came down."

He added there was a chance of expanding the team.

"I understand the feeling about Roberto Clemente," Selig said. "I really don't disagree with it, to be perfectly blunt about it. But once you start doing that, you've got some other people who feel they should be on it, too. So it's something that we certainly can talk about in the future."

Baseball spokesman Rich Levin said fans and the panel, not the commissioner's office, picked the team.

"If you take a step back, MasterCard had no involvement with the selection of the original 100 players on the ballot or the 30-man team, either the ones elected by the fans or the ones chosen by the panel," company spokesman Chris O'Neill said.

Filmmaker Spike Lee, standing near the Clemente brothers on the field, said the omission of their father was a "mockery," a "fiasco" and a "boondoggle."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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