Roberto Clemente was perhaps one of the most famous baseball players of his era. Born on August 18, 1934 in Carolina on the island of Puerto Rico, he became a fixture in the Major League Baseball Association as a player for the Pittsburg Pirates (1955-1972). His career was rife with accolades and awards including 1966’s National League’s Most Valuable Player Award, as well as winning 12 straight Gold Glove awards. In 1960 he won the World Series as a Pittsburg Pirate (and again in 1971), as well as the Most Valuable Player award. Moreover, he would become the first Hispanic and Afro-Latino to make 3000 hits, including 240 home runs in baseball history.
Besides baseball, and perhaps more importantly, Clemente was a proud Afro-Latino. Being of Puerto Rican and Black decent set him up against the discriminatory and racist narratives that were prevalent during that time. Despite the challenges he faced in the United States, he carried himself with grace, humility and pride. His role as an activist for racial equality and players’ rights in baseball would lead him to participate in Civil Rights marches of the ’60s, and eventually to meet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he visited Clemente on his farm in Puerto Rico.
Clemente was heavily involved in humanitarian efforts offering aid, funding and baseball workshops to poor and disenfranchised youth throughout the Caribbean. In a tragic turn of events, Clemente would meet his untimely death on December 31, 1972, when an airplane full of supplies, departing from San Juan to Nicaragua, to provide disaster relief after an earthquake crashed into the ocean. His body was never found.
Fortunately, Roberto Clemente’s spirit was nowhere near lost. His valiant acts on and off the baseball field created a role model for professional athletes, men, women, and children to strive toward.
Roberto Clemente, today, Doxygen Media salutes you for your undeniable impact on not only the world of sports, but the world as a whole! Long live” The Great One.”
“If you have the chance to make things better for people coming behind you and you don’t, you are wasting your time on earth.” – Roberto Clemente.