Off the diamond
Delgado has done much more than just speak his mind. His efforts on behalf of
Puerto Rican youth--raising money, delivering gifts to hospitalized children
and sponsoring youth sports through his Extra Bases foundation--earned him
baseball's Roberto Clemente Award last year as the player who best exemplifies
humanitarianism and sportsmanship.
saying," Delgado says. "It goes, 'God, grant me the serenity, to accept
the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the
wisdom to know the difference.' Well, I do what I can do."
This is the house
that Delgado had intended to give to his parents: a modern, yellow stucco,
single-level with white trim on a lush half acre studded with oak, ficus and
mango trees. He is sitting on a wicker sofa, on a patio facing the backyard
where he plans to install batting cages and pitching machines. It is one of a
dozen properties he owns in Puerto Rico; he also just purchased a five-bedroom
colonial in Greenwich, Conn. (He lived last season in an apartment on
Manhattan's Upper East Side.) When he is told that he is becoming a capitalist,
he laughs and says, "Please, no, don't say that. Don't tell my father."
His wife, Betzaida, a civil engineer whom he met seven years ago at a Christmas
party, is in a service room off the garage, putting some clothes in the dryer.
She is seven months pregnant with their first child, and just yesterday
underwent a sonogram. She comes out to the patio to tell Carlos that she is
planning to drive to his parents' house to show them the images of their
grandson. When he speaks to her, it is with a steady stream of "mi
amors" and "coraz�ns."
Sprinklers turn on
with a sputter in the yard as Carlos tries to reach the dealer, who must, by
now, be approaching Aguadilla. No luck. On the glass-topped table is a copy of
David Maraniss's biography of Clemente. Delgado says he reads mostly
biographies, a little history and some self-help books. "With fiction, I
only read the good stuff," he says. "Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez, Paulo
reaches the car dealer, who is pleased to inform him that he has fought through
the traffic and will be arriving at Delgado's parents' house in a few minutes.
Carlos stands up and says, "Now, let's go to surprise my mother."
FOR NEARLY a
decade Carlos Delgado has quietly been one of baseball's most consistently
productive power hitters. He enters 2007 riding a streak of nine consecutive
seasons with an OPS (sum of on-base and slugging percentages) of at least .900.
Only seven players in history have fashioned longer runs (minimum 500 plate
appearances per year), including Manny Ramirez (left) who has the longest
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