Delgado Has A Lot to Look Forward to This Year

February 21, 2009

Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado wears number 21, coincidentally the same number as the greatest Puerto Rican-born major league baseball player, Roberto Clemente. When Delgado was asked if he felt that every baseball stadium should honor Clemente’s 21, as they do for Jackie Robinson’s number 42, he answered without hesitation, “I would love to see it.” Delgado who turns 37 this season is playing his fourth year as a Met. At season’s end, he may be looking at more than five hundred homeruns for his career. He only needs to hit thirty-one more to reach that plateau.

“It’s quite flattering,” Delgado said regarding his admission into a very elite club. “When I get there, we will celebrate then.”

Delgado hit the bulk of his homeruns while playing with the Toronto Blue Jays. From 1996-2004, he averaged thirty-six homers a year. In just nine seasons, he collected a total of 324 homeruns. For Delgado, his performance north of the border is what has stayed with baseball fans most. The reception he has received at times from his present fans has not always been as settling.

“It sucks when you’re not getting any hits and you have fifty thousand people booing you,” he said.

The first half of the season for Delgado last year was considered a definite low-point of his career. “I wasn’t afraid or scared that I was losing it because I knew what I was doing wrong,” Delgado explained. “I wish there was something wrong physically. There was nothing wrong. My bat speed was there. It was just a bad swing,” he added.

Delgado has elected to participate in this year’s World Baseball Classic which opens up in his native country of Puerto Rico. Not only is he excited about the opportunity to be representing his homeland but the Clemente family has expressed that they would be honored if he was to wear the Hall of Famer’s number 21 during the tournament.

“We understand what the Clemente legacy means,” Delgado said, “They [the Clemente family] were generous enough to allow me to wear the number.”

Nobody knows where Delgado will be blasting his famous jaw-dropping home runs next year. But for now, he seems content as he approaches what may be his most memorable season as a baseball player.

“I’m gonna go out there, play the game, and hit the ball hard,” Delgado stated. “We’ve got a great ball club; we don’t care about what other people say.”

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