Roberto Clemente Biography
Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker was born on 18 August 1934 and died on 31 December 1972. He was a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. His untimely death established the precedent that, as an alternative to the five-year retirement period, a player who has been deceased for at least six months is eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.
Clemente was an All-Star for twelve seasons, playing in fifteen All-Star Games. He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1966, the NL batting leader in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and a Gold Glove Award winner for twelve consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. His batting average was over .300 for thirteen seasons, and he had 3,000 hits during his major league career. He also played in two World Series championships. Clemente is the first Latin American and Caribbean player to help win a World Series as a starter (1960), to receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).
Clemente was married in 1964; he and his wife had three children. He was involved in charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off-season, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. On December 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash while en route to provide aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old.
Roberto Clemente Birthday: He was born on 18 August 1934 in Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico
|Roberto Clemente Died: He died on 31 December 1972 (aged 38) in Isla Verde, Carolina, Puerto Rico|
|Roberto Clemente Cause of Death: He died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.|
|Roberto Clemente Wife: Vera Cristina Zabala m. 1964–1972|
|Roberto Clemente Children: He had three sons, Roberto Clemente Jr., Roberto Enrique Walker and Luis Roberto Walker|
|Roberto Clemente Google Doodle: Google Doodle celebrates Roberto Clemente in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month in the US, on 12 October 2018. There will be a performance marking the event by guest artist Roxie Vizcarra, to commemorates the life and career of Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican Hall of Fame baseball star, Latinx trailblazer, and passionate humanitarian.|
|April 17, 1955, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1972, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
Roberto Clemente MLB statistics
|Runs batted in||1,305|
Roberto Clemente Teams
Roberto Clemente Career highlights and awards
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||92.7% (first ballot)|
Roberto Clemente Personal life and death
Clemente married Vera Zabala at San Fernando Church in Carolina on 14th November 1964. The couple had three children: Roberto, Jr., born in 1965, Luis Roberto, born in 1966, and Roberto Enrique, born in 1969.
Clemente spent much of his time during the off-season in charity work. On 23rd December 1972, Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, was affected by a massive earthquake. Clemente had just visited Managua three weeks before the quake. He immediately set to work arranging emergency relief flights. He, unfortunately, learned that the aid packages on the first three flights had been diverted by corrupt officials of the Somoza government, never reaching victims of the quake. He decided to accompany the fourth relief flight, hoping that his presence would ensure that the aid would be delivered to the survivors. The airplane he chartered for a New Year’s Eve flight, a Douglas DC-7 cargo plane, had some history of mechanical problems and an insufficient number of flight personnel (missing both a flight engineer and copilot) and was overloaded by 4,200 pounds. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on 31st December 1972 due to engine failure.
The body of the pilot and part of the fuselage of the plane were found a few days after the crash. An empty flight case belonging to Clemente was the only personal item recovered from the plane. Clemente’s teammate and close friend Manny Sanguillén was the only member of the Pirates not to attend Roberto’s memorial service. The Pirates catcher chose instead to dive into the waters where Clemente’s plane had crashed in an effort to find his teammate. The bodies of Clemente and three others who were also on the four-engine plane were never recovered.
At the time of his death, Clemente had established several records with the Pirates, including most triples in a game (three) and hits in two consecutive games (ten). He won 12 Gold Glove Awards and shares the record of most won among outfielders with Willie Mays. On July 25, 1956, in a 9–8 Pittsburgh win against the Chicago Cubs, Clemente hit the only walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in professional baseball history.
Roberto Clemente Hall of Fame
On 20th March 1973, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America held a special election for the Baseball Hall of Fame. The vote was in an aim to waive the waiting period for Clemente, due to the circumstances of his death, and posthumously elected him for induction into the Hall of Fame, giving him 393 out of 420 available votes, for 92.7% of the vote.
Clemente’s Hall of Fame plaque originally had his name as “Roberto Walker Clemente” instead of the proper Spanish format “Roberto Clemente Walker”; the plaque was recast in 2000 to correct the error.
Roberto Clemente MLB awards and achievements
- NL MVP Award (1966)
- NL Player of the Month Award (May 1960, May 1967, July 1969)
- World Series MVP Award (1971)
- NL Gold Glove Award (1961–1972)
- Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award (2006)
- NL All-Star (1960–1967, 1969–1972)
- NL leader in batting average (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)
- NL leader in hits (1964, 1967)
- NL leader in triples (1969)
- NL leader in putouts as right fielder (1958, 1961, 1966)
- NL leader in fielding average as right fielder and outfielder (1972)
Roberto Clemente Award
Since 1971, MLB has presented the Roberto Clemente Award (named the Commissioner’s Award in 1971 and 1972) every year to a player with outstanding baseball playing skills who is personally involved in community work. A trophy and a donation check for a charity of the player’s choice is presented annually at the World Series. A panel of three makes the final determination of the award recipient from an annual list of selected players.
Roberto Clemente National awards
Clemente was posthumously presented three civilian awards of the United States government from the President of the United States including the first Presidential Citizens Medal:
- President Richard Nixon, May 14, 1973: Roberto Clemente Walker Congressional Gold Medal
- President Richard Nixon, May 14, 1973: Presidential Citizens Medal
- President George W. Bush, July 23, 2003: Presidential Medal of Freedom
Roberto Clemente Google Doodle
Google Doodle celebrates Roberto Clemente in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month in the US, on 12 October 2018. There will be a performance marking the event by guest artist Roxie Vizcarra, to commemorates the life and career of Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican Hall of Fame baseball star, Latinx trailblazer, and passionate humanitarian.