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The Life and Legacy of Roberto Clemente

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S: The Life and Legacy of Roberto Clemente

FC: The Life and Legacy of | By: Vincent TIllman | Roberto Clemente

1: Roberto Clemente Walker was born in Barrio San Anton in Carolina, Puerto Rico, August 18, 1934. He was the youngest of 7 children. He pinched in and helped his family work on their sugar crop. | Roberto excelled in track and field, winning medals in the javelin throw and short distance races.He played amateur baseball with Juncos Double A Club and soon went on to play with the Santurce Crabbers in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

2: While playing with the Santurce Crabbers, Clemente caught the attention of the major league scouts. In 1954, he signed up with the Los Angeles Dodgers who sent him to their minor league team, the Montreal Royals. After one year with the Royals, In 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates obtained Roberto with the # 1 pick of the draft, which was awarded to the Pirates. Clemente joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955, where he played his entire eighteen year Major League Baseball career from 1955 to 1972. Shortly after Clemente joined the Pirates, he chose No. 21 for his uniform. Twenty-one was the total number of letters in the name–Roberto Clemente Walker.

4: He played right field, and played it well. He was known for his rocket arm and consistent batting. Throughout his career, he had many great accomplishments. He was in the World Series of baseball twice. The first time he was in the World Series, the Pirates beat the New York Yankees in 1960. | He had a batting average of .310 in the series of seven games they played. Clemente was selected the National League MVP in 1966. The second World Series that Clemente was in was against the Baltimore Orioles in 1971. The Pirates came from behind to win in seven games. Clemente was chosen MVP for this World Series with a phenomenal batting average of .414. Clemente appeared in 12 all-star games.

5: Roberto was the National League batting champion four times. Clemente also earned twelve Golden Gloves in his career, tying Willie Mays. He got exactly 3,000 hits in his career and he was the 11th player to ever reach that number. Clemente appeared in 12 all-star games.

7: On November 14, 1964, Clemente married Vera Cristina Zabala. Clemente was very proud of where he was from so they had the wedding in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico. They went on to have three sons: Roberto Jr., Luis Roberto, and Roberto Enrique. Proud of his heritage Roberto insisted that Vera give birth to all three sons in Puerto Rico. Clemente’s accomplishments were not all on the baseball field. In the off-season he helped out many unfortunate people because Clemente believed in giving other unfortunate people the chance that he had.

8: On December 31, 1972, off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash on his way to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38. At the start of the 1973 baseball season, the Pirates retired Roberto Clemente’s number: 21. Debate is still going on about his number 21 being retired for every team in the MLB.

10: At PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball stadium, the right field wall is 21 feet high in honor of his number. The 6th Street Bridge was also renamed in his honor at the start of the 1973 baseball season.Clemente was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. In New York, a state park was named in his honor. Clemente also has many schools named after him. In Miami, Florida, the Roberto Clemente Youth Club was created to help at-risk Hispanic youth to keep away from drugs and violence. In San Juan, Puerto Rico the coliseum was named Coliseo Roberto Clemente.There is also an award named in his honor that is awarded every year in the MLB for the player that most represents Clemente’s humanitarianism.

11: Coliseo Roberto Clemente.

12: Many years after his death, Clemente is still being awarded for his deeds. In 1999, he was placed 20th in The Sporting News list of 100 Greatest Baseball Players and the highest ranking Latino player. In 1999, Clemente also was put on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2002, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2003, he was inducted in to the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame. In 2005, Clemente became a member of the Major League Baseball’s Latinos Legends Team. Today Roberto Clemente is considered as one of the greatest Latino Baseball players to ever play the game of Baseball. Like Jackie Robinson many people are trying to have his number retired from Baseball.

14: Personal Quotes: "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth." "I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball." "I'm a very quiet, shy person, although you writers might not believe because I shout sometimes." "When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth." "Why does everyone talk about the past? All that counts is tomorrow's game." | -Roberto Clemente 21

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Vee Tillman
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  • Title: The Life and Legacy of Roberto Clemente
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