Monday, September 20, 2010


Academy Award-considered filmmaker Richard Rossi cast the lead role of Roberto Clemente this week in his baseball bio-pic "Baseball's Last Hero: The Roberto Clemente Story." 2004 Olympian high-jumper Jamie Nieto beat out three thousand other actors to win the coveted lead role of Roberto Clemente.(For more information on Jamie Nieto, visit ) Rossi started shooting
second-unit photography in July in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Jarvis Powers, a Roberto lookalike and star tight end from Robert Morris College who played Roberto's body double. "Now that we've cast Jamie as Roberto, the train's leaving the station," Rossi said.

"‘Baseball’s Last Hero: The Roberto Clemente Story’ blends baseball with a redemptive story of sacrifice" writer-director Rossi said.
"In the words of the Gospel of John, 'Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends…' Jamie knows about sacrifice and excellence, both as an actor and an Olympian."

On New Year’s Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero’s death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. Rossi grew up in Pittsburgh, watching the Great Roberto play for the Pirates. "I played hookie from school and sat in the right field bleachers watching my hero
play. When he died I was ten years-old and cried my eyes out for days on end."

Rossi will bring his childhood baseball hero back to life in a movie he hopes will become a modern classic. "As he did in his last biographical film ‘Sister Aimee: The Aimee Semple McPherson Story,’ Rossi will use his narrative sweep, storytelling, and meticulous detail to capture the myth and the real man," John Tomarello, a spokesperson for the film said.

Anyone who saw Clemente, as he played with a beautiful fury, will never forget him. He was a work of art in a game too often defined by statistics. During his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he won four batting titles and led his team to championships in 1960 and 1971, getting a hit in all fourteen World Series games in which he played. His career ended with three thousand hits, the magical three-thousandth coming in his final at-bat. Roberto and the immortal Lou Gehrig are the only players to have the five-year waiting period waived so they could be enshrined in the Hall of Fame immediately after their deaths.

In his final years, his faith grew, and his motto was that if you had a chance to help others and fail to do so, you are wasting your time on this earth. To Clemente, wealth and fame were created to be resources of compassion to those less fortunate. His moral global responsibility extended beyond the playing field. Rossi will retrace Clemente’s final days, from the earthquake to the accident, the mission of mercy that exemplified his commitment to sacrifice.

Roberto Clemente is a hero to the world, particularly Latin Americans and the people of his native Puerto Rico. He was considered the greatest Latino player in the major leagues, the Jackie Robinson of the Spanish-speaking world. In the world of baseball cards and memorabilia, demand for anything Clemente is second only to Mickey Mantle, and far greater than Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Juan Marichal, or any other black or Latin players. The long-awaited baseball bio-pic and interest in the Pittsburgh Pirate MVP will likely help propel the movie to world-wide recognition.

Rossi is looking for donors to his non-profit organization Eternal Grace, which is producing the film. "We are in production on faith like Kevin Costner building his baseball field in a cornfield. We need the funds to keep flowing. We believe if we shoot it, the money will come. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to become a producer of a film that could change millions of lives," Rossi said. For more information on the film, visit

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Turning the spiritual abuse of my past into laughs has been healing humor for me. I'm grateful many have experienced enjoyment listening to my recent controversial comedy performance "Richard Rossi: Recovering Fundie." As we know, toxic religion can be downright harmful with it's shame, blame and fear. My standup routine on recovering from religion is an expression of ministry through my creativity to alleviate that shame and guilt in others by giving them fifteen minutes of laughs about the funny side of fundamentalism. Laughing is healthy for the heart, hypertension removal, and keeping stress away. "A merry heart doeth good as a medicine," as the Proverbs say. So feel free to pass it on to your friends, here's the link to my stand-up comedy: