Categorized | Carousel, Features

Baseball Star Carlos Beltran Visits Perth Amboy

New York Yankees Outfielder Carlos Beltran visited Perth Amboy on Thursday, February 18. Above Beltran poses for a photo in Mayor Diaz’ Office (L to R) Margarita Feliciano, Mayor’s Aide Irving Lozada, Mayor Wilda Diaz, Carlos Beltran, Law Director Arlene Quinones Perez, Lissette Martinez, Noelia Colon *Photo by Katherine Massopust

New York Yankees Outfielder Carlos Beltran visited Perth Amboy on Thursday, February 18. Above Beltran poses for a photo in Mayor Diaz’ Office (L to R) Margarita Feliciano, Mayor’s Aide Irving Lozada, Mayor Wilda Diaz, Carlos Beltran, Law Director Arlene Quinones Perez, Lissette Martinez, Noelia Colon
*Photo by Katherine Massopust • Story is below • Click on photos below to enlarge.

By: Katherine Massopust

PERTH AMBOY – Baseball Player Carlos Beltran visited Perth Amboy on Thursday, February 18. Carlos Beltran has played for the Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Luis Cardinals and presently plays for the New York Yankees. Beltran has been in 8 All Star Games, has 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Slugger Awards; he was the American League Rookie of the year in 1999. He has made the 30-30 club (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season). Presently Beltran is both an outfielder/designated hitter for the New York Yankees. Born in Puerto Rico on April 24, 1977, Beltran will reach his 39th birthday this April.

The Amboy Guardian reached out to the City of Perth Amboy and asked how Beltran’s Perth Amboy visit came about. “The City was approached by local resident Victor Santiago, who has a business relationship with Mr. Beltran. Mr. Santiago felt that the City would benefit from the positive message that Mr. Beltran could provide to the community. The Office of Recreation was tasked to arrange the logistical aspects of the visit,” said Kenneth Ortiz, Director of Human Services.

Beltran’s day began with a visit to PRAHD (Puerto Rican Association of Human Development). PRAHD Director Yvonne Lopez was thrilled that Carlos Beltran came to Perth Amboy. He took photos with the students at PRAHD who had prepared posters to welcome the baseball player.

Next on the itinerary, Beltran visited City Hall for a photo op with Mayor Diaz, Kenneth Ortiz and other City officials. Before entering City Hall, the news of Beltran’s visit had spread throughout Perth Amboy, and many people stopped for autographs and photos with the Yankee Player in front of City Hall.

Mayor Wilda Diaz and City Officials all took turns taking photos and getting autographs. Perth Amboy Free Public Library Business Manager Herschel Chomsky was overwhelmed with emotion as he met Carlos Beltran. Tears of joy fell from his eyes when he posed for a photo with the Yankee Star.

Next on the itinerary was a visit to the AUL (Academy for Urban Leadership) Charter School. Beltran first visited with Dr. Néstor Collazo, Lead Administrator, The Academy for Urban Leadership Charter School. Beltran had a half hour discussion with Collazo, which was conducted in Spanish.

The Amboy Guardian reached out to Dr. Collazo to provide a brief synopsis of the conversation. Dr. Collazo wrote:

Mr. Beltrán and I conversed on a number of topics, including my father’s days in professional baseball back in the 1950’s and 60’s. My (step) Dad (Carlos Bernier) played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. I was sharing with Mr. Beltrán that Branch Rickey had signed him to a Major League contract with the Pirates. If you recall, Branch Rickey also signed Jackie Robinson into the Dodger organization.

We shared how difficult life was back then for players of color. I brought to the forefront that the Pirates were still in denial that Carlos Bernier was their first player of color to join their team. I went on to share that during my father’s induction into the Pacific Coast League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, I noticed that his plaque was signed by Branch Rickey, and that this Branch Rickey III was the grandson of the man who had signed my Dad into Major League Baseball nearly 60 years in the past. I shared that I would continue work on bringing to consciousness my father’s legacy in the game of baseball, including his singles, doubles and triples records as well as his renowned base-stealing record.

Mr. Beltrán asked if I had ever visited the museum of Sports in Puerto Rico where my father is also inducted. Quite frankly, I explained that I have not yet visited, but will do so in the near future.

We also spoke about the importance of an education to the students of AUL. Mr. Beltrán was quite informed about differnt educational strategies, in particular, cooperative learning.  He cited that in his academy students coming in with deficiencies were able to make significant academic progress when placed in small cooperative learning groups. Mr. Beltrán is very committed to students’ academic growth and success. He realizes that baseball creates opportunities for youngsters to learn skills that are quite transferable to the classroom, (i.e. teamwork, work ethic, motivation, focus, dedication, and discipline, to name a few). He is very proud of the students that have come through his Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. Mr. Beltrán is working to provide educational opportunities to these youngsters, while simultaneously helping them develop as baseball players.  He shared that youngsters in his academy have grown up to be very responsible and dedicated citizens. I was impressed by Mr. Beltrán’s knowledge of effective instructional strategies to increase student achievement.

Mr. Beltran also shared his experience in the United States when he first came into Major League Baseball some nineteen (19) years ago. His recollections included the many challenges presented by not being a fluent English speaker and the markedly different cultures. He remembered the many times he called his parents in Puerto Rico whenever he felt homesick.

His talk with AUL students was excellent and his small conversations with the youngsters on the way out of the building are something the kids will remember for a long time. He captivated the imagination students and adults alike. We are very grateful that Mayor Díaz gave our family of AUL students, staff and faculty an opportunity to meet with Mr. Beltrán. We are equally grateful to Mr. Kenny Ortiz and Ms. Noelia Colon for their involvement and support of the initiative. – Dr. Néstor Collazo, Lead Administrator, Academy for Urban Leadership Charter School –

Afterwards Carlos Beltran came downstairs and gave an inspiring motivational message to the students of the Charter School. He was first presented with a proclamation from Mayor Diaz who thanked him for visiting the City.

Beltran spoke to the students of how a baseball player who fails 72% of the time is considered successful. (Batting average just shy of .300) He spoke on how he wanted to be an exceptional player and how many players were more talented then him, yet didn’t work hard to develop that talent. “These players come and go in two years,” Beltran said. He then spoke about how he now has to work twice as hard because he is competing with guys that are 24 years old (who are younger and stronger).

Dr. Collazo mentioned to the students that Carlos Beltran was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award in 2013.  From Wikipedia: “The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”, as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media.” Originally known as the Commissioner’s Award the first 2 years it was given in 1971 and 1972. It was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award in 1973 after Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates who died in a plane crash while delivering supplies to victims of the Nicaragua earthquake.”

After speaking to the students, Beltran was treated to lunch at the Terrazza Restaurant.

“Mr. Beltran was extremely, well received by the entire community, especially by our students who were very inspired by his visit,” said Mayor Wilda Diaz.

When asked if Beltran would return: “Mr. Beltran expressed a desire to return to the City and speak to more Perth Amboy students,” said Kenneth Ortiz, Director of Human Services.

Comments are closed.

Browse Current Issue - Click Here

Perth Amboy Calendar

MON. Jan 22
• City Council, Caucus,
4:30 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

WED. Jan 24
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

THURS. Jan 25
• Historic Preservation Commission
7 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

MON. Jan 29
• Special Public Meeting, RE: Discussion of Rezoning Ordinance
6 p.m.
City Hall, High St.

 

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!

South Amboy Calendar

WED. Jan. 31
• City Council, Regular,
7 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

WED. Feb. 7
• City Council, Business,
6 p.m.
City Hall, N. Broadway

Stay informed! Attend public meetings. All are welcome!