Vascellaro: Manny Sanguillen’s ‘My Clemente’ in two words: best friend

From Charlie Vascellaro at La Vida Baseball on June 19, 2017:

The first time Manny Sanguillén met Roberto Clemente, he was flying from Panama to Pittsburgh.

“I flew in first class and Clemente came in coach,” Sanguillén recalled.

Sanguillén inadvertently purchased the wrong ticket and Clemente assisted him in getting a refund. This was one of the first instances of Clemente helping Sanguillén learn his way around baseball and the United States.

That was back in 1966, the year before Sanguillén made the Pirates’ roster. The two men later became inseparable, though not quite immediately, according to Sanguillén. There was an issue that required managerial intervention.

“His bed was there and my bed was here,” Sanguillén said during a recent interview with La Vida at The Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh. “But he knew too many people and I went downstairs and told the manager, ‘I need a different room because Roberto has too many people [coming to visit]. Can I get a different room?’

“But from that time on we clicked and we became friends and that reminds me of how God brought us together,” Sanguillén said.

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Originally published: June 19, 2017. Last Updated: June 19, 2017.