Dan's Dugout: Carlos Correa Channels Clemente • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Carlos Correa Channels Clemente

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Houston shortstop Carlos Correa had good reason to skip the quick team trip to the White House Monday.

Carlos Correa bats cleanup for the Houston Astros                    Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Like the late Roberto Clemente, the first Puerto Rican to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame, Correa decided to help Latinos in distress.

He stayed in South Florida, where he was overseeing the shipment of vital supplies to his hurricane-ravaged home island.

Pounded last September by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has still not recovered. In fact, parts of the former island paradise still lack electricity.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to go and talk to the president about Puerto Rico when were going there for the team, for the amazing year we had, and for what we brought to the city of Houston,” the infielder told The Palm Beach Post.

Astros infield stars, from left, are Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

“I don’t only represent the Houston Astros. I don’t only represent my family. I also represent the American citizens that are living in Puerto Rico.

“I want to bring some awareness to what is going on.”

Unlike Houston, which received quick and effective federal aid after Hurricane Harvey flooded the city last fall, Puerto Rico is not one of the 50 states. But it is a commonwealth whose residents are American citizens – even though neither they nor their congressional representative
vote in U.S. elections.

According to Correa, “The day off was perfect for me to be able to provide some help for the people in need in Puerto Rico. It had nothing to do with politics.”

The only other Astros player who passed on the Washington trip was closer Ken Giles, who had a previous family commitment.

A first-time All-Star last year, Correa was American League Rookie of the Year in 2015 and probably has some MVP awards in his future. He hit .315 with 24 home runs last year and smacked five more long balls in postseason play, helping the Astros win their first world championship.

The Astros share The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches with the Nationals
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

The 6’4″ righthanded hitter, who wears No. 1, bats fourth for a team loaded with sluggers. But, then again, he’s a big guy – the tallest shortstop in the majors since Cal Ripken, Jr.

At 23, Correa is already the Houston club leader in home runs by a shortstop. That figure will grow, since Correa and double-play partner Jose Altuve have a friendly rivalry. Together, the two of them look like Mutt and Jeff.

If he maintains his current pace, Correa could someday join Clemente in Cooperstown. The latter lost his life in a plane crash while ferrying emergency supplies to Nicaragua earthquake victim on New Year’s Eve of 1973.

Houston owner Jim Crane helped Correa ship a planeload of provisions to Puerto Rico in October but the next shipment will be sent by ship from South Florida.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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