Born Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker on August 18, 1934, Clemente played with the Brooklyn Dodgers' minor league team before making his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955. He led the National League in batting four times during the 1960s, and starred in the 1971 World Series. He died in a plane crash to deliver goods to Nicaragua in 1972.
Roberto Clemente born in Puerto Rico,
His father was a foreman overseeing sugar-cane cutters and helped deliver sand and gravel for a construction company. His mother did laundry, ran a grocery store and did other jobs on the sugar-cane plantation. Roberto did odd jobs so he could help the family and buy himself a bicycle. Growing up, Roberto played baseball and participated in track and field. He won medals for the javelin throw and short distance races. Throwing the javelin strengthened his arm for throwing a baseball
At age 18, Roberto joined a Puerto Rican professional baseball team, the Santurce Cangrejeros where he played with Willie Mays in 1954.
That year Santurce won the Caribbean World Series. Roberto was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. He played on a minor league team for a season before being chosen in the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played outfield with the Pirates from 1955-1972. He was selected for the National League All-Star team 15 times, won 12 Gold Glove Awards, and had the highest National League batting average four years. He was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1966 and the World Series Most Valuable Player in 1971
Clemente hit an impressive .311 in 1956, but he struggled with injuries and the language barrier early in his career. He hit his stride in 1960, batting .314 with 16 home runs and 94 RBIs to earn his first All-Star berth and help the Pirates win the World Series. The following year, he led the National League with a .351 average, slugged 23 homers and won his first of 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence. Clemente put on a show in the 1971 World Series, batting .414 with two home runs to help Pittsburgh defeat the favored Baltimore Orioles. Late in the 1972 season, he became the first Hispanic player to reach 3,000 career hits.
Off the field, Clemente was described as a quiet gentleman. He was proud of his Puerto Rican heritage and stood up for minority rights. Clemente married Vera Zabala in 1963, and they had three sons. Renowned for his humanitarian work, he died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, en route to bringing much needed supplies to survivors of an earthquake in Nicaragua. The next year he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He became the first Latino inducted into the Hall.
What type of character did he have? Was a strong person responsible , and very humble out in the sport being a legend and marking history in baseball.