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Associated Press Newswires

Carlos Beltran Makes Good On Dream Of A Home For His Parents


March 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Associated Press Newswires. All rights reserved. 

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - From the day that Carlos Beltran signed his first professional contract with the Kansas City Royals, he had a dream. He wanted a house, a bigger house than the one where he grew up.

Wilfredo and Carmen Beltran raised Carlos and his older brother, Nino, and younger twin sisters Marie Liz and Liz Marie in modest circumstances in Puerto Rico.

They lived on Calle Zafiro, a side street in the city of Manati. Wil supported his family by working in a pharmaceutical company's warehouse, shipping and receiving. Carmen, better known as Mimin, tended the house and made ends meet.

Nino and Carlos played baseball. The twins played volleyball. The parents sacrificed what they had for the kids. It was a happy life in a small home, made comfortable by love.

But Carlos Beltran always wanted something better.

Then Beltran became a baseball star. He was the American League's Rookie of the Year in 1999, the announcement coming as he and Jessica were on a honeymoon cruise.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself," Mimin Beltran would often tell friends. "I can't believe my little boy is a major-league baseball player."

Beltran was hurt in 2000, had a poor season and battled the Royals over his rehabilitation assignment. But he put together fine seasons in 2001, when he batted .306, and last year, hitting 29 homers with 105 RBIs.

And he was earning $3.5 million. Every month he sent money home. When his parents' refrigerator went on the blink, he bought a larger model.

Mimin said it was too big for her small kitchen but kept it anyway.

Carlos and Jessica lived in apartments in San Juan one winter, in Dorado the next and then in his hometown of Manati.

"When you're close to your family, you want to be close to them," Beltran said.

Last year he and Jessica bought a house - family room, formal dining room, big kitchen, three bedrooms, two baths and a patio on a nice lot in Manati. Not ostentatious but perfect for a young couple.

While Beltran was in Kansas City playing center field, his parents kept an eye on the place, which was new but still empty.

"We waited until the season was over to go to Puerto Rico and see the house and buy all new furniture," Beltran said.

Jessica enlisted Mimin to accompany her on the furniture shopping trips to make certain her mother-in-law approved of the choices.

"Be with me," Jessica told her. "I need to buy everything for the house."

So Mimin went along. In every case, Jessica yielded to Mimin's advice and taste.

Mimin insisted that her son take back the new refrigerator and put it in the house. She wanted a smaller one anyway.

Carlos plunged into painting the house himself. Well, not exactly by himself. He got his father to help and hired a handyman for a week.

Except boss Beltran was so exacting that he preferred to do the work himself. The handyman mostly sat and watched.

"I got up every day at 7 a.m. and worked to 6 p.m.," Carlos said.

"Like an employee," his wife said, laughing.

Mimin set to work scrubbing the windows.

"You see what we have to do for our son? When you have children, see what the parents have to do to help them out?" Mimin sighed one day to the handyman.

"Sooner or later," he replied, "he's going to pay you back."

The house began to fill up. A Jacuzzi was installed.

The Beltrans like TV, so Carlos bought a 62-inch giant.

"What do you think of that?" he asked his father. "Here, sit down here and watch. Are you comfortable? What do you think?"

He intently studied his father for a reaction.

Mimin began to get impatient.

"We were telling my mom, `Hey, I can't wait to have the house done,' " Beltran said. "She said, `Well, why don't you move? You just need a bed.' And I said, `No, I just want to move when everything is there.' "

Finally, a king-sized bed was purchased. Mimin thought it was slightly outrageous, big enough it seemed to her for every relative they had in Puerto Rico.

"It's like something in the movies," she said.

There were some final touches. Beltran did the landscaping, putting in about a hundred plants.

One Sunday in November, Carlos and Jessica summoned their combined families to a housewarming party. There were about 60 people enjoying food and telling family stories and raving about the new home.

As evening came, Beltran put a videotape into the new TV.

"Major League Baseball did a tape of me while I was in Puerto Rico about where I grew up, what things I did, the park I played in when I was a kid," he said.

"They did all that and asked me questions. One of the questions was about my family and I responded that I always wanted to give something back to my family because they really supported me with everything. When I needed something, they were always there, and I appreciated everything they gave me when I was a kid. And I feel in my heart that I have to return something to them."

When the tape was over, he said, almost everybody was crying. Because almost everybody knew what was coming next.

Beltran got up and said: "Thank you everybody for being here. It's a real special moment for me - my own home, my own house."

He had something else to say.

"I started crying and couldn't say a word," he said.

Jessica had to take over.

"We just want to tell you guys that this house is not for us," she said. "It's for you, Mimin, and for you, Wil."

They held up two sets of keys, one with a "C" for Carmen, one with a "W" for Wilfredo.

Now it was Mimin's turn to cry.

"It was a surprise, a great surprise," she said. "Everyone knew it but us."

Jessica said Wil was so stunned he sat motionless in his chair for 15 minutes.

"My dad and my mom gave me everything they could have given me," Beltran said. "Even if they didn't have the money, my dad used to get the money from somebody else to give me. ... As a kid, I always dreamed about doing this. I always told my mom, `When I get to the big leagues, I'm going to get you a new house.' "

The promise was kept.

"It was from me and from God," Beltran said, "because he's the one who gave me the talent to play this game."

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