|Born: August 18, 1934
Carolina, Puerto Rico
|Died: December 31, 1972
Off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 17, 1955 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1972 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||1,305|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||92.7% (first ballot)|
Roberto Clemente Walker (August 16, 1934–December 31, 1972) was a Puerto Rican baseball player. He played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972. Clemente's career was cut short by his death in a plane crash off the coast of his homeland of Puerto Rico. The flight was planned to deliver emergency supplies to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.
Clemente was the first Latin American elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He and Lou Gehrig are the only Hall of Fame members that did not have the five-year waiting period. However, the rules for election were different in Gehrig's day. He was eligible when he retired in 1939, and the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA), which then as now is the main body for electing players, chose to hold a special election specifically to elect him. (This was probably because Gehrig was known to be dying, and the voters wanted to elect him while he was still alive.) After Clemente's death, the BBWAA made an exception to its five-year waiting period for Clemente. The exception made for Clemente is now a rule—a player who dies while active, or within five years of his retirement, becomes eligible for election six months after his death (provided he has played at least 10 years in Major League Baseball).
Clemente did a lot of charity work, especially in Latin American countries; as noted above, he died on a charity mission to Latin America. Each year the MLB gives the Roberto Clemente Award. This award is for the player who best follows Clemente's example with charity work.
In 1973, Clemente was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the first Presidential Citizens Medal. On August 17, 1984 the United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp honoring Clemente. This was the day before what would have been his 50th birthday.
Personal life[change | change source]
On November 14, 1964, Clemente married Vera Zabala at San Fernando Church in Carolina. The couple had three children: Roberto, Jr., born in 1965, Luis Roberto, born in 1966, and Enrique Roberto, born in 1969.
References[change | change source]
- Marc Zarefsku (2007-09-06). "Baseball honors Roberto Clemente". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080207084045/http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070906&content_id=4991&vkey=hof_news. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
- "National Postal Museum to feature Roberto Clemente Walker". Hispania News. http://www.hispanianews.com/archive/2001/April13/04.htm. Retrieved 2013-07-07.