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|Birth||August 18, 1934, Carolina, Puerto Rico|
|Death:||December 31,1972, Off the coast of Carolina, Puerto Rico|
|Debut||, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Brooklyn Dodgers,|
|Team(s)|| As Player|
|HOF induction:||August 6, 1973|
Roberto Clemente Walker (August 18, 1934 – December 31, 1972) was a Major League Baseball right fielder and right-handed batter. He was elected to the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1973, being the first Hispanic American to be selected, and the only exception to the mandatory five-year post-retirement waiting period since it was instituted in 1954. Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children. He played 18 seasons in the majors from 1955 to 1972, all with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning the NL MVP Award in 1966.
Clemente was a 4-time NL batting champion, finishing in the top ten in batting average thirteen times. He finished his career with exactly 3,000 hits, the last one coming on what would turn out to be the last at-bat of his career on September 30, 1972 off Jon Matlack of the New York Mets. He was the 11th player in history to reach this number. He also had one of the most powerful throwing arms of any outfielder in baseball history, which contributed to him winning 12 Gold Glove Awards for his outstanding defense. Perhaps Clemente's greatest feat was leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a seven-game World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles in 1971. He played to two World Series (1960 and 1971) getting a hit in every World Series game (14) in which he played. He compiled a lifetime batting average of .317 and batted .300 or better 13 times, hitting 240 home runs. He is one of only 4 players (as of end of 2005 season) to have 10 or more Gold Gloves and a .300+ lifetime batting average.
Tragic death and posthumous honorsEdit
A hero in his native Puerto Rico, Clemente spent much of his time during the off-season involved in charity work. He died in a plane crash off the coast of isla verde, Puerto Rico on December 31, 1972 while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Puerto Rico has honored Roberto Clemente's memory by naming the coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico Coliseo Roberto Clemente. His native city, Carolina, named an avenue after him and realized his dream of establishing a sports complex where the youth could learn and practice sports in a healthy environment. Today this sports complex is called "Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente" (Roberto Clemente Sports City). There is also a monument in his likeness created by Puerto Rican sculptor Jose Buscaglia Guillermety situated in Carolina. New York immediately named a state park after him; he now has several schools and parks named after him.
In Pittsburgh, the 6th Street Bridge was renamed in his memory, and the Pirates retired his number 21 at the start of the 1973 season. MLB presents the Roberto Clemente Award every year to the player who best follows Clemente's example with humanitarian work. In 2002, Clemente was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2003, he was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame. The right field wall at the Pirates' PNC Park is 21 feet high in honor of Clemente.
In 1999, he ranked Number 20 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, the highest-ranking Latino player. Later that year, Clemente was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Several Latino fans wrote letters saying, as the greatest of all Latino players, he should have been awarded a spot on the team. On October 26, 2005, Clemente was named a member of Major League Baseball's Latino Legends Team.