Diunte: What if Roberto Clemente had stayed with the Brooklyn Dodgers?

From SABR member Nick Diunte at The Sports Post on November 30, 2016, with mention of SABR member Stew Thornley:

On April 17, 1955, Roberto Clemente made his Major League debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates, starting his Hall of Fame career with a 1-4 performance against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Due to the keen eyes of Branch Rickey and scout Clyde Sukeforth, the Pirates swiped Clemente from the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate in Montreal. All despite Brooklyn’s best efforts to hide his talent. Eighteen seasons and 3,000 hits later, Clemente built a most remarkable career with the Pirates for both his efforts on and off the field.

But what would have become of Clemente’s career if the Dodgers attempts to keep him away from the other 15 big league clubs were successful?

“He worked out with me in center field to start,” Montreal teammate Don Thompson said in a 2008 interview. “He had a great arm and he could hit; he hit a lot of bad pitches, like Berra, over his head. He was a wild swinger, but I could tell he was going to be a good ballplayer. … They were trying to hide him. He was eligible for the big league draft. They knew that if they didn’t take him on Brooklyn that he would possibly be drafted.”

Read the full article here: http://thesportspost.com/baseball-history-clemente-brooklyn/

Originally published: November 30, 2016. Last Updated: November 30, 2016.