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Roberto Clemente - Clemente's Legacy

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Shortly after his death, Clemente became the first Hispanic person ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; the usual rules, which stipulated that a player had to wait five years after ending his career before being inducted, were waived.

Awards and Accomplishments

1960 Pittsburgh Pirates win World Series
1961-72 National League Gold Glove at OF
1966 National League Most Valuable Player
1971 World Series Most Valuable Player
1972 In his final at-bat, makes his 3,000th hit
1972 Elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

After Clemente's death, the Pirates honored him for the next several seasons by wearing patches on their sleeves. The patches had Clemente's uniform number, 21, circled in black. The team also played a series of exhibition games in San Juan in order to make Clemente's dream of a "sports city" in Puerto Rico come true.

Clemente's wife Vera remembered that for years he had talked about creating a "sports city" for the young people of Puerto Rico, and she spearheaded the effort to build one. Today the Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente, located in Carolina, Puerto Rico, continues to encourage young people to play sports and to succeed at them. Since its beginnings, it has fostered many players who later came to the major U.S. leagues.

In addition to being depicted on almost 100 baseball cards, Clemente was honored in 1982 with a 20-cent stamp issued by Puerto Rico. At the 1994 All-Star game in Pittsburgh, a bronze statue of Clemente was unveiled. Pirates outfielder Orlando Merced told Wulf, "Roberto Clemente means a dream to me, and to a lot of kids and people…. He has pushed me to be a betterplayer and a better person. When they unveiled the statue, I was crying. It made me proud to be who I am and to be a Puerto Rican."

When Clemente entered major league baseball, he contended with widespread racism among players, fans, and sports reporters. Partly because of his presence and his talent, baseball teams today spend millions of dollars to recruit and keep talented Hispanic players; by 1998, almost nineteen percent of major-league players were Hispanic. According to Bill Plaschke in The Sporting News, Dodger scout Mike Brito said, "Today, the Latin player coming in is treated like a king. If he is any good, he gets everything." Despite this, Latin players still face stereotypes, according to Plaschke, "that they are hotheaded, or that they don't have inner drive." In addition, although Hispanic players are now relatively common, only one of 120 personnel executives is Hispanic. In The Sporting News, Richard Lapchick quoted former player agent Joe Masso, who said that Hispanic players need a transition program to help them understand the language and culture of the United States, and that "The U.S.-born players need a deeper understanding of Latino culture so they can play better as teammates on and off the field."

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB
PIT: Pittsburgh Pirates.
1955 PIT .255 124 474 48 121 5 47 18 60 2
1956 PIT .311 147 543 66 169 7 60 13 58 6
1957 PIT .253 111 451 42 114 4 30 23 45 0
1958 PIT .289 140 519 69 150 6 50 31 41 8
1959 PIT .296 105 432 60 128 4 50 15 51 2
1960 PIT .314 144 570 89 179 16 94 39 72 4
1961 PIT .351 146 572 100 201 23 89 35 59 4
1962 PIT .312 144 538 95 168 10 74 35 73 6
1963 PIT .320 152 600 77 192 17 76 31 64 12
1964 PIT .339 155 622 95 211 12 87 51 87 5
1965 PIT .329 152 589 91 194 10 65 43 78 8
1966 PIT .317 154 638 105 202 29 119 46 109 7
1967 PIT .357 147 585 103 209 23 110 41 103 9
1968 PIT .291 132 502 74 146 18 57 51 77 2
1969 PIT .345 138 507 87 175 19 91 56 73 4
1970 PIT .352 108 412 65 145 14 60 38 66 3
1971 PIT .341 132 522 82 178 13 86 26 65 1
1972 PIT .312 102 378 68 118 10 60 29 49 0
TOTAL .317 2433 9454 1416 3000 240 1305 621 1230 83

In Stamps, John D. Babbitt quoted Clemente's summation of his life philosophy: "Accomplishment is something you cannot buy. If you have a chance to do something for somebody and you do not make the most of it, you are wasting your time on this earth."

Roberto Clemente - Awards And Accomplishments [next] [back] Roberto Clemente - Clemente's Personality

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