Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente is one step from to being declared a saint by the Catholic Church, after his beatification last month (via The Washington Post).
Or, as the Christian Newswire's report puts it: "The idea may sound like it is out of left field, but the pitch thrown to Pope Francis by filmmaker Richard Rossi turned out to be an unlikely strike."
Rossi, who directed the film “Baseball’s Last Hero” in which former U.S. Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto played Clemente, credited Clemente's spirit for the "miracle" of Nieto's recovery from paralysis caused by a broken neck.
Rossi's claim of Clemente's involvement, according to Christian Newswire, is documented in a letter he wrote last year to Pope Francis.
“In meditation, it was revealed to me that Roberto Clemente was a saint,” Rossi wrote. “I saw a miracle healing of Jamie Nieto. He will walk at his own wedding to show the grace of the sacrament of marriage. Jesus performed his first miracle at the wedding of Cana.”
Though doctors gave Nieto little chance to recover after being paralyzed from the neck down, he walked his fiancee down the aisle at their wedding this July.
Rossi began his campaign for Clemente's canonization in 2014 and maintains that the former Pirate, who died in 1972 in a plane crash delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, performed multiple miracles while living.
Because the Catholic Church hasn't recognized any others besides Nieto's walking again, one more miracle must be attributed to Clemente before he can be declared a saint.