Roberto Clemente was a Dodger before he was a Pirate:

Here is my story that aired last night on 790 KABC as part of the Lasorda at His Best series presented by Skechers:

When the Dodgers optioned Roberto Clemente to Montreal, he was in the same situation that Sandy Koufax was in.  At that time, if the organization gave a player a bonus of $4,000 the player had to remain on the major league roster for two years.   Buzzie Bavasi did not want to have two bonus babies on the roster at the same time, which would put the Dodgers at a disadvantage to the other teams that used all 25 roster spots for veteran players.

So they took a chance to send Clemente out.  They didn’t send him to a low minor league team where he would play; they sent him to triple-A where we would hide him.  Anytime we saw a scout at the ballpark and Clemente was playing we would take hi out of the game.

During one game we were up by a couple of runs in the first inning.  Clemente was on the on-deck circle and I’m coaching first base.  I look up in the stands and see three scouts sit down.

I hollered to the manager and pointed to the stands.  He took Clemente out for a pinch hitter, from the on-deck circle in the first inning!

So Clemente went in to the clubhouse and started to pack his bags.  He was going to quit that day when they took him out and never appeared in the game.

The Pirates eventually drafted Clemente despite our best efforts to hide him.  He went on to become a Hall of Famer.

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