clemete_70s

From Wikipedia, the free ency­clo­pe­dia

Rober­to Clemente Walk­er (August 18, 1934 – Decem­ber 31, 1972) was a Puer­to Rican pro­fes­sion­al base­ball play­er. He was a Major League Base­ball right field­er who played 18 sea­sons for the Pitts­burgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972. He was a Nation­al League, Most Valu­able Play­er once, All-Star twelve times (15 games), bat­ting cham­pi­on four times, and Gold Glove win­ner twelve times. In 1972, Clemente got his 3,000th major league hit.

Clemente was involved in char­i­ty work in Puer­to Rico and Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries dur­ing the off sea­sons, often deliv­er­ing base­ball equip­ment and food to those in need. He died in an avi­a­tion acci­dent on Decem­ber 31, 1972, while en route to deliv­er aid to earth­quake vic­tims in Nicaragua.

Clemente was elect­ed posthu­mous­ly to the Nation­al Base­ball Hall of Fame in 1973, becom­ing the first Latin Amer­i­can to be enshrined. He was also one of only two Hall of Fame mem­bers for whom the manda­to­ry five-year wait­ing peri­od had been waived, the oth­er being Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Clemente is the first Lati­no play­er to win a World Series as a starter (1960), to receive an MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).

Early life

Rober­to Clemente was born in Bar­rio San Anton, Puer­to Rico, to Don Mel­chor Clemente and Luisa Walk­er, the youngest of sev­en sib­lings, with five broth­ers and one sis­ter. Dur­ing his child­hood, his father worked as fore­man of sug­ar crops locat­ed in the munic­i­pal­i­ty. Because the family’s resources were lim­it­ed, Clemente worked along­side his father in the same fields, load­ing and unload­ing trucks. Clemente showed inter­est in base­ball ear­ly in life and often played against neigh­bor­ing bar­rios. He attend­ed Viz­caron­do High School in Car­oli­na. Dur­ing his first year in high school, he was recruit­ed by Rober­to Marin to play soft­ball with the Sel­lo Rojo team after Marin saw Clemente play­ing base­ball in Bar­rio San Anton. He was with the team two years as short­stop. Clemente joined Puer­to Rico’s ama­teur league when he was 16 years old, play­ing for the Fer­di­nand Jun­cos team, which rep­re­sent­ed the munic­i­pal­i­ty of Jun­cos.

On Novem­ber 14, 1964, he mar­ried Vera Zabala at San Fer­nan­do Church in Car­oli­na. The cou­ple had three chil­dren: Rober­to, Jr., Luis Rober­to and Enrique Rober­to.

Baseball career

Puerto Rican Baseball (1952–1954)

Clemente’s pro­fes­sion­al career began when Pedrín Zoril­la offered Clemente, 17, a con­tract which he signed on Octo­ber 9, 1952, with the Can­gre­jeros de San­turce, a win­ter league team and fran­chise of the LBBPR. He was a bench play­er dur­ing his first cam­paign but was pro­mot­ed to the San­turce Can­gre­jeros (“Crab­bers”) start­ing line­up the fol­low­ing sea­son. Dur­ing this sea­son he hit .288 as the Crab­bers lead­off hit­ter. While Clemente was play­ing in the LBBPR, the Brook­lyn Dodgers offered him a con­tract with the team’s Triple-A sub­sidiary.

Minor League Baseball (1954)

Clemente moved to Mon­tréal to play with the Mon­tréal Roy­als after sign­ing with the Dodgers on Feb­ru­ary 19, 1954. The cli­mate and lan­guage dif­fer­ences affect­ed him ear­ly on, but he received the assis­tance of his team­mate Joe Black, who was able to speak Span­ish. Clyde Suke­forth, a scout for the Pitts­burgh Pirates, noticed that Clemente was being used as a bench play­er for the Roy­als and dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of draft­ing Clemente to the Pitts­burgh Pirates with the team’s man­ag­er, Max Macon. Clemente hit .257 in 87 games that sum­mer. The Pirates select­ed Clemente as the first selec­tion of the rook­ie draft that took place on Novem­ber 22, 1954.

Major League Baseball

Pitts­burgh Pirates (1955–1972)

The 1950s

Clemente (U.S. Marine Corps, 1958)

Clemente (U.S. Marine Corps, 1958)

Clemente debuted with the Pitts­burgh Pirates on April 17, 1955, in the first game of a dou­ble head­er against the Brook­lyn Dodgers. At the begin­ning of his time with the Pirates, he expe­ri­enced frus­tra­tion because of racial ten­sion with the local media and some team­mates. Clemente respond­ed to this by stat­ing, “I don’t believe in col­or.” He not­ed that, dur­ing his upbring­ing, he was taught to nev­er dis­crim­i­nate against some­one based on eth­nic­i­ty.

Clemente was at a dou­ble dis­ad­van­tage at both being a Lati­no who knew very lit­tle Eng­lish as well as being a black Lati­no; the Pirates them­selves only became the fifth team in the Nation­al League and ninth in the majors to break the base­ball col­or line the year before when Curt Roberts debuted with the team, a full sev­en years after Jack­ie Robin­son broke baseball’s col­or line with the Dodgers. Upon arriv­ing in Pitts­burgh, Roberts would befriend Clemente and help him adjust to life in the majors, as well as to get used to life in Pitts­burgh.

Dur­ing the mid­dle of the sea­son, Clemente was involved in a car acci­dent due to a drunk dri­ver; this caused him to miss sev­er­al games with an injury in his low­er back. He fin­ished his rook­ie sea­son with an aver­age of .255, despite con­fronting trou­ble hit­ting cer­tain types of pitch­es. His defen­sive skills, how­ev­er, were high­light­ed dur­ing this sea­son.

Marine Corps Reserve

Dur­ing the off sea­son, Clemente played with the San­turce Crab­bers in the Puer­to Rican base­ball win­ter league, where he was already con­sid­ered a star. He was trad­ed to the Criol­los de Caguas team (Caribbean base­ball) and played for them dur­ing the 1957–1958 sea­son. The Pirates expe­ri­enced sev­er­al dif­fi­cult sea­sons through the 1950s, although they did man­age a win­ning sea­son in 1958, their first since 1948.

Dur­ing the win­ter sea­son of 1958–59, Clemente didn’t play win­ter base­ball on the Caguas team; instead, he joined the Unit­ed States Marine Corps Reserve. He spent his six-month active duty com­mit­ment at Par­ris Island, South Car­oli­na, Camp LeJe­une in North Car­oli­na, and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. At Par­ris Island, Clemente received his basic train­ing with Pla­toon 346 of the 3rd Recruit Bat­tal­ion. The rig­or­ous train­ing pro­grams helped Clemente phys­i­cal­ly; he added strength by gain­ing ten pounds and said his back trou­bles had dis­ap­peared. He was a Pri­vate First Class in the Marine Corps Reserve until Sep­tem­ber 1964.

The 1960s

A statue of Clemente outside of PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

A stat­ue of Clemente out­side of PNC Park in Pitts­burgh.

Ear­ly in the 1960 sea­son, Clemente led the league with a .353 bat­ting aver­age, and scor­ing Runs Bat­ted In (RBIs) in 25 out of 27 games. Roberto’s bat­ting aver­age stayed above the .300 mark through­out the course of the cam­paign. In August, he missed five games as a result of an injury to his chin that he suf­fered when he crashed into the out­field wall. The Pirates com­piled a 95–59 record dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, win­ning the Nation­al League pen­nant, and defeat­ed the New York Yan­kees in a sev­en-game World Series. His .314 bat­ting aver­age, 16 home runs, and defense dur­ing the course of the sea­son earned him his first selec­tion to Nation­al League All-Star ros­ter (reserve play­er). He par­tic­i­pat­ed in both of the two All-Star games that were played that sea­son.

Dur­ing 1961 spring train­ing, fol­low­ing advice from Pirates’ bat­ting coach George Sisler, Clemente tried to mod­i­fy his bat­ting tech­nique by using a heav­ier bat to slow the speed of his swing. Dur­ing the 1961 sea­son, Clemente was select­ed as the Nation­al League start­ing right field­er in the All-Star game. He hit a triple on his first at-bat and scored the team’s first run. With the Amer­i­can League ahead 4–3 in the tenth inning, Clemente hit a dou­ble to give the Nation­al League a deci­sive 5–4 win.

Fol­low­ing the sea­son, he trav­eled to Puer­to Rico along with Orlan­do Cepe­da, who was a native of Ponce. When both play­ers arrived, they were received by 18,000 peo­ple. On Novem­ber 14, 1964, Clemente mar­ried Vera Zabala. The cer­e­mo­ny took place in the church of San Fer­nan­do in Car­oli­na and was attend­ed by thou­sands of fanat­ics. Dur­ing this time, he was also involved in man­ag­ing the Senadores de San Juan, as well as play­ing with the team dur­ing the Major League off-sea­son. Dur­ing the course of the win­ter league, Clemente was injured and only par­tic­i­pat­ed as a pinch hit­ter in the league’s All-Star game. He expe­ri­enced a com­pli­ca­tion on his injury dur­ing the course of this game and under­went surgery short­ly after being car­ried off the play­ing field.

This con­di­tion lim­it­ed his role with the Pirates in the first half of the 1965 sea­son, dur­ing which he bat­ted an aver­age of .257. He was inac­tive for sev­er­al games dur­ing this stage of the cam­paign before being ful­ly active; when he returned to the start­ing line­up, he hit in thir­ty-three out of thir­ty-four games and his aver­age improved to .340. Rober­to and Vera had their first son on August 17, 1965, when Rober­to Clemente, Jr. was born; he was the first of three chil­dren, along with Luis Rober­to and Enrique Rober­to. In the 1960s, he bat­ted over .300 every year except 1968, when he hit .291. He was a Nation­al League All-Star play­er every sea­son he played begin­ning in 1960 and won the Gold Glove Award for out­field­er every sea­son begin­ning in 1961. He won the Nation­al League bat­ting title four times: 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and won the MVP Award in 1966, hit­ting .317 with 29 home runs and 119 RBIs. In 1967, he reg­is­tered a career high .357 bat­ting aver­age, hit 23 home runs, and bat­ted in 110 runs.

The 1970s

The 1970 sea­son was the last one that the Pitts­burgh Pirates played in Forbes Field before mov­ing to Three Rivers Sta­di­um; for Clemente, aban­don­ing this sta­di­um was an emo­tion­al sit­u­a­tion. The Pirates’ final game at Forbes Field occurred on June 28, 1970. That day, Clemente not­ed that it was hard to play in a dif­fer­ent field, say­ing, “I spent half my life there.” The night of July 24, 1970, was declared “Rober­to Clemente Night”; on this day, sev­er­al Puer­to Rican fans trav­eled to Three Rivers Sta­di­um and cheered Clemente while wear­ing tra­di­tion­al Puer­to Rican indu­men­tary. A cer­e­mo­ny to hon­or Clemente took place, dur­ing which he received a scroll with 300,000 sig­na­tures com­piled in Puer­to Rico, and sev­er­al thou­sands of dol­lars were donat­ed to char­i­ty work fol­low­ing Clemente’s request.

Dur­ing the 1970 cam­paign, Clemente com­piled an aver­age of .352; the Pirates won the Nation­al League East pen­nant but were sub­se­quent­ly elim­i­nat­ed by the Cincin­nati Reds. In the off­sea­son, Clemente expe­ri­enced some tense sit­u­a­tions while he was work­ing as man­ag­er of the Senadores and when his father, Mel­chor Clemente, expe­ri­enced med­ical prob­lems and was sub­ject­ed to a surgery.

In the 1971 sea­son, the Pirates won the Nation­al League pen­nant and faced the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles in the World Series. Bal­ti­more had won 100 games and swept the Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Series, both for the third con­sec­u­tive year, and were the defend­ing World Series cham­pi­ons. The Ori­oles won the first two games in the series, but Pitts­burgh won the cham­pi­onship in sev­en games. This marked the sec­ond occa­sion that Clemente had won a World Series with the Pirates. Over the course of the series, Clemente bat­ted a .414 aver­age (12 hits in 29 at-bats), per­formed well defen­sive­ly, and hit a solo home run in the decid­ing 2–1 sev­enth game vic­to­ry. Fol­low­ing the con­clu­sion of the sea­son, he received the World Series Most Valu­able Play­er award.

3,000th hit

Clemente, strug­gling with injuries, played in 102 games in 1972 and hit .312 in his final sea­son. On Sep­tem­ber 30, he hit a dou­ble off Jon Mat­lack of the New York Mets at Three Rivers Sta­di­um for his 3,000th hit. It was the last at-bat of his career dur­ing a reg­u­lar sea­son, though he did play in the 1972 NLCS play­offs against the Cincin­nati Reds. In the play­offs, he bat­ted .235 as he went 4 for 17. His last game ever was at Cincinnati’s River­front Sta­di­um in the fifth game of the play­off series. He and Bill Maze­ros­ki were the last Pirate play­ers remain­ing from the 1960 World Series cham­pi­ons.

Dur­ing much of his career, Clemente was often called by the Angli­cized name of “Bob Clemente” by the media and in base­ball mer­chan­dise such as base­ball cards, even though he clear­ly pre­ferred being called by his giv­en first name of Rober­to. Accord­ing to con­tem­po­rary accounts, “Rober­to” was too exot­ic of a name at the time. Although Clemente was large­ly called Rober­to by the late 1960s, he was called Bob as late as 1972, when he col­lect­ed his 3,000th hit and Pirates announc­er Bob Prince referred to him as “Bob­by” while call­ing the game for KDKA.

MLB stats

YEARTEAMGPABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPSWAR
1955PIT124474481212311547186025.255.284.382.666-0.7
1956PIT14754366169307760135866.311.330.431.7611.9
1957PIT11145142114177430234504.253.288.348.6361.1
1958PIT140519691502410650314182.289.327.408.7354.1
1959PIT10543260128177450155123.296.322.396.7182.5
1960PIT144570891792261694397245.314.357.458.8153.6
1961PIT14657210020130102389355941.351.390.559.9496.0
1962PIT144538951682891074357364.312.352.454.8063.6
1963PIT1526007719223817763164122.320.356.470.8264.9
1964PIT155622952114071287518752.339.388.484.8727.0
1965PIT1525899119421141065437880.329.378.463.8416.8
1966PIT1546381052023111291194610975.317.360.536.8968.1
1967PIT1475851032092610231104110391.357.400.554.9548.7
1968PIT1325027414618121857517723.291.355.482.8378.0
1969PIT1385078717520121991567341.345.411.544.9557.4
1970PIT1084126514522101460386630.352.407.556.9635.2
1971PIT132522821782981386266512.341.370.502.8726.9
1972PIT102378102378681181971060294900.312.356.479
TotalPIT2433945414163000440166240130562112308346.317.359.475.834
Sea­son Aver­agesPIT135.0525.278.7166.724.49.213.372.534.568.34.62.6.317.359.475.834
SEASONGPABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSAVGOBPSLGOPS
19607291900030400.310.310.621.666
19703141300010400.214.214.429.761
1971114751821283800.383.420.5961.016
19725171410123500.235.350.471.821
Total261078343131462100.318.354.449.803

MLB awards

  • Nation­al League All-Star (1960−1967, 1969–1972; 15 AS games)
  • Nation­al League MVP Award (1966)
  • World Series MVP Award (1971)
  • Nation­al League Gold Glove Award (1961−1972)
  • Commissioner’s His­toric Achieve­ment Award (2006)

MLB achievements

  • Nation­al League leader in bat­ting aver­age (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)
  • Nation­al League leader in hits (1964, 1967)
  • Nation­al League leader in triples (1969)
  • Nation­al League leader in putouts as right field­er (1958, 1961, 1966)
  • Nation­al League leader in field­ing aver­age as right field­er and out­field­er (1972)

Death

Clemente spent much of his time dur­ing the off-sea­son involved in char­i­ty work. When Man­agua, the cap­i­tal city of Nicaragua, was affect­ed by a mas­sive earth­quake on Sat­ur­day Decem­ber 23, 1972, Clemente (who had been vis­it­ing Man­agua three weeks before the quake) imme­di­ate­ly set to work arrang­ing emer­gency relief flights. He soon learned, how­ev­er, that the aid pack­ages on the first three flights had been divert­ed by cor­rupt offi­cials of the Somoza gov­ern­ment, nev­er reach­ing vic­tims of the quake.

Clemente decid­ed to accom­pa­ny the fourth relief flight, hop­ing that his pres­ence would ensure that the aid would be deliv­ered to the sur­vivors. The air­plane he char­tered for a New Year’s Eve flight, a Dou­glas DC-7, had a his­to­ry of mechan­i­cal prob­lems and sub-par flight per­son­nel, and it was over­loaded by 4,200 pounds. It crashed into the ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puer­to Rico imme­di­ate­ly after take­off on Sun­day Decem­ber 31, 1972. A few days after the crash, the body of the pilot and part of the fuse­lage of the plane were found. An emp­ty flight case appar­ent­ly belong­ing to Clemente was the only per­son­al item recov­ered from the plane. Clemente’s team­mate and close friend Man­ny San­guil­lén was the only mem­ber of the Pirates not to attend Roberto’s memo­r­i­al ser­vice. The Pirates catch­er chose instead to dive into the waters where Clemente’s plane had crashed in an effort to find his team­mate. Clemente’s body was nev­er recov­ered. Tom Walk­er helped Clemente load the plane, but either because of the plane’s weight load or because he want­ed Walk­er, who was sin­gle, to go enjoy New Year’s, Clemente told him not to join him on the flight. Walker’s son is Pitts­burgh Pirates sec­ond base­man, Neil Walk­er.

In an inter­view for the ESPN doc­u­men­tary series Sports­Cen­tu­ry in 2002, Clemente’s wid­ow Vera Clemente men­tioned that Clemente had told her sev­er­al times that he thought he was going to die young. Indeed, while being asked by a reporter about when he would get his 3,000th career hit in July 1971, Clemente’s response was “Well, uh, you nev­er know. I, I, uh, if I’m alive, like I said before, you nev­er know because God tells you how long you’re going to be here. So you nev­er know what can hap­pen tomor­row.” Clemente’s old­er step broth­er, Luis, died on Decem­ber 31, 1954 and his step sis­ter a few years lat­er.

At the time of his death, Clemente had estab­lished sev­er­al records with the Pirates, includ­ing most triples in a game (three) and hits in two con­sec­u­tive games (ten). Clemente also tied the record for most Gold Glove Awards won among out­field­ers with twelve, which he shares with Willie Mays. He also is the only play­er to have hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam. He accom­plished this his­toric base­ball-event on July 25, 1956 in a 9–8 Pitts­burgh win against the Chica­go Cubs, at Forbes Field. In addi­tion, he was one of four play­ers to have ten or more Gold Gloves and a life­time bat­ting aver­age of .317.

Hall of Fame

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On March 30, (1973), the Base­ball Writ­ers’ Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca held a spe­cial elec­tion for the Base­ball Hall of Fame. They vot­ed to waive the wait­ing peri­od for Clemente, due to the cir­cum­stances of his death, and posthu­mous­ly elect­ed him for induc­tion into the Hall of Fame, giv­ing him 393 of the 420 avail­able votes, or 92% of the vote. Clemente’s Hall of Fame plaque had orig­i­nal­ly read “Rober­to Walk­er Clemente”. In 2000, the plaque was recast to express his name in the prop­er His­pan­ic for­mat, “Rober­to Clemente Walk­er”.

Roberto Clemente Award

Begin­ning in 1973 (1971), MLB presents the Rober­to Clemente Award (named Commissioner’s Award, 1971 & 1972) every year to a play­er with out­stand­ing base­ball play­ing skills who is per­son­al­ly involved in com­mu­ni­ty work. A tro­phy and a dona­tion check for a char­i­ty of the player’s choice is pre­sent­ed annu­al­ly at the World Series. A pan­el of three makes the final deter­mi­na­tion of the award recip­i­ent from an annu­al list of select­ed play­ers.

National awards

Rober­to Clemente was posthu­mous­ly pre­sent­ed three civil­ian awards of the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment from the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States includ­ing the first Pres­i­den­tial Citizen’s Medal:

  • Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, May 14, 1973: Rober­to Walk­er Clemente Con­gres­sion­al Gold Medal
  • Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon, May 14, 1973: Pres­i­den­tial Cit­i­zens Medal
  • Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, July 23, 2003: Pres­i­den­tial Medal of Free­dom

Citizens Medal Citation

“All who saw Rober­to Clemente in action, whether on the dia­mond or on the front lines of char­i­ta­ble endeav­or, are rich­er for the expe­ri­ence. He stands with the hand­ful of men whose bril­liance has trans­formed the game of base­ball into a show­case of skill and spir­it, giv­ing uni­ver­sal delight and inspi­ra­tion. More than that, his self­less ded­i­ca­tion to help­ing those with two strikes against them in life has blessed thou­sands and set an exam­ple for mil­lions. As long as ath­letes and human­i­tar­i­ans are hon­ored, Rober­to Clemente’s mem­o­ry will live; as long as Cit­i­zens Medals are pre­sent­ed, each will mean a lit­tle more because the first one went to him.”

Other awards, honors, namings, and statues

Awards

  • 1971: Babe Ruth Award from the Base­ball Writ­ers Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca (BBWWA).
  • 2006: Commissioner’s His­toric Achieve­ment Award (MLB award): On July 11, 2006 at the Major League Base­ball All-Star Game in Pitts­burgh, many of the play­ers on both teams wore yel­low wrist­bands with the ini­tials “RCW” in hon­or of Clemente. The award was pre­sent­ed and accept­ed at the end of the 4th inning by Clemente’s wid­ow. The Com­mis­sion­er of Base­ball Bud Selig stat­ed dur­ing the award pre­sen­ta­tion that “Rober­to was a hero in every sense of the term”.

Honors, namings, and statues

  • 1973: Clemente’s uni­form num­ber 21 was retired by the Pitts­burgh Pirates on April 6.
  • 1984: The Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice issued a Rober­to Clemente postal stamp on August 17, 1984. The stamp was designed by Juan Lopez-Bonil­la and shows Clemente wear­ing a Pitts­burgh Pirates base­ball cap with a Puer­to Rican flag in the back­ground.
  • 2003: Clemente was induct­ed into the Unit­ed States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
  • 2005: Clemente was named a mem­ber of Major League Baseball’s Lati­no Leg­ends Team.
  • 2007: Clemente was select­ed for the All Time Rawl­ings Gold Glove Team (50th anniver­sary of the Gold Glove award; 1957).
  • 2010: Clemente was induct­ed into the His­pan­ic Her­itage Base­ball Muse­um Hall of Fame.
  • PNC Park, the home ball­park of the Pirates which opened in 2001, includes a right field wall 21 feet (6.4 m) high, in ref­er­ence to Clemente’s uni­form num­ber and his nor­mal field­ing posi­tion dur­ing his years with the Pirates. The Pirates orig­i­nal­ly erect­ed a stat­ue in mem­o­ry of Clemente at Three Rivers Sta­di­um, an hon­or pre­vi­ous­ly award­ed to Honus Wag­n­er. The stat­ue was moved to PNC Park when it opened, and stands at the cor­ner near the Rober­to Clemente Bridge. An iden­ti­cal small­er stat­ue was unveiled in Newark, New Jersey’s Branch Brook Park in 2012. The team con­sid­ered nam­ing PNC Park after Clemente, but despite pop­u­lar sen­ti­ment the team chose instead to sell the nam­ing rights to local­ly based PNC Finan­cial Ser­vices, with the bridge being renamed after him con­sid­ered a com­pro­mise.
  • The col­i­se­um in San Juan, Puer­to Rico was named the Rober­to Clemente Col­i­se­um in 1973; two base­ball parks are in Car­oli­na, the pro­fes­sion­al one, Rober­to Clemente Sta­di­um, and the Dou­ble-A. There is also the Escuela de los Deportes (School of Sports) that has the Dou­ble-A base­ball park. Today, this sports com­plex is called Ciu­dad Deporti­va Rober­to Clemente. The Pitts­burgh Pirates is one of the most pop­u­lar base­ball teams in Puer­to Rico due to Clemente.
  • In Pitts­burgh, the 6th Street Bridge was renamed in his mem­o­ry. The City of Pitts­burgh main­tains Rober­to Clemente Memo­r­i­al Park along North Shore Dri­ve in the city’s North Side which includes a bronze relief by sculp­tor Eleanor Milleville. In 2007, the Rober­to Clemente Muse­um opened in the Lawrenceville sec­tion of Pitts­burgh. Near the old Forbes Field where he began his pro career the city of Pitts­burgh has renamed a street in his hon­or.
  • Cham­pi­on thor­ough­bred horse Rober­to, bred in 1968 and owned by then-Pirates own­er John W. Gal­breath, was named for Clemente. The horse would go on to become a cham­pi­on in Britain and Ire­land, and in June 1973, fol­low­ing Clemente’s pass­ing, won the Group I Coro­na­tion Stakes at Epsom.
  • The state of New York opened Rober­to Clemente State Park in The Bronx in 1973. Some schools, such as Rober­to Clemente High School in Chica­go the Rober­to Clemente Char­ter School in Allen­town, Penn­syl­va­nia and Rober­to Clemente Acad­e­my in Detroit, were named in his hon­or. There’s also a Rober­to Clemente Sta­di­um in Masaya, Nicaragua. There’s also a mid­dle school in Ger­man­town, Mary­land called Rober­to W. Clemente Mid­dle School and the Rober­to Clemente Lit­tle League in Branch Brook Park in Newark, New Jer­sey is named after him as well.
  • In 1999, Clemente ranked Num­ber 20 on The Sport­ing News’ list of the 100 Great­est Base­ball Play­ers, the high­est-rank­ing Lati­no play­er on the list. Lat­er that year, Clemente was nom­i­nat­ed as a final­ist for the Major League Base­ball All-Cen­tu­ry Team.
  • Dur­ing the 2003 and 2004 MLB sea­sons, the Mon­tréal Expos (who at the time were owned by MLB due to an abort­ed con­trac­tion attempt) played 22 home games each sea­son at Hiram Bithorn Sta­di­um in San Juan, Puer­to Rico. Although the Pirates played their annu­al road series against the Expos in Mon­tréal for 2003, the two teams did meet in San Juan for a four-game series in 2004, the last series the Expos host­ed in San Juan before mov­ing to Wash­ing­ton, D.C. and becom­ing the Wash­ing­ton Nation­als the fol­low­ing sea­son. Dur­ing one of those games, in a trib­ute to Clemente, both teams wore throw­back uni­forms from the 1969 sea­son, the Expos first sea­son and, at the time, Clemente’s 15th with the Pirates. The Pirates throw­backs, repli­cas of what Clemente wore from 1957-ear­ly 1970, were sim­i­lar to their then-cur­rent uni­forms, except that the road jer­seys they wore for the game read “Pirates” instead of “Pitts­burgh”, and last names were absent from the backs of the jer­seys. The Expos won the four-game series three games to one.
  • Clemente’s #21 remains active in Major League Base­ball, and is worn by mul­ti­ple play­ers. Sam­my Sosa wore #21 through­out his career as a trib­ute to his child­hood hero. The num­ber is unof­fi­cial­ly retired in the Puer­to Rico Base­ball League. While the top­ic of retir­ing #21 through­out Major League Base­ball like Jack­ie Robinson’s #42 has been broached, and sup­port­ed by groups such as His­pan­ics Across Amer­i­ca, Jack­ie Robinson’s daugh­ter dis­agrees, believ­ing that Major League Base­ball should hon­or him anoth­er way.
  • In June 2013, at afore­men­tioned Clemente Park in The Bronx, a stat­ue of the Hall-of-Fame icon, sculpt­ed by Cuban-Amer­i­can Mar­itza Her­nan­dez, was final­ly installed. It depicts Clemente doff­ing his cap after notch­ing his 3,000th hit on Sept. 30, 1972.

Biographies & documentaries

 Clemente’s life has been the sub­ject of numer­ous books, arti­cles and doc­u­men­taries:

  •  2006: Clemente: The Pas­sion and grace of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss.
  •  2008: “Rober­to Clemente”: One-hour biog­ra­phy as part of the Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing Ser­vice his­to­ry series, Amer­i­can Expe­ri­ence which pre­miered on April 21, 2008. The film is direct­ed by Bernar­do Ruiz, nar­rat­ed by Jim­my Smits and fea­tures inter­views with Vera Clemente, Orlan­do Cepe­da and George F. Will. The pro­duc­tion received an ALMA Award.
  • 2010: Chas­ing 3000 a movie based on a true sto­ry of two kids named Mick­ey (played by Ray Liot­ta, Trevor Mor­gan), and Blake Wood­yard and Roger (played by Jay Karnes, Rory Culkin, and Nicholas Brady) as they go on an adven­ture to trav­el across the Unit­ed States to see Clemente’s 3,000th hit.
  • 2011: 21: The Sto­ry of Rober­to Clemente was released, a graph­ic nov­el by Wil­fred San­ti­a­go (pub­lished by Fan­ta­graph­ics) detail­ing Clemente’s life in a com­ic-book for­mat. In their USA Today Mag­a­zine arti­cle titled “Salut­ing Pittsburgh’s Finest” Richard E. Vatz and Lee S. Wein­berg said Clemente was “arguably the best in the his­to­ry of the game” and stat­ed that “under­stand­ing the mag­ni­tude of Rober­to Clemente requires an appre­ci­a­tion of the gestalt of his pres­ence, which was greater than the sum of his sta­tis­tics”.
  • 2011: DC-7: The Rober­to Clemente Sto­ry, a bilin­gual musi­cal about Clemente’s life, had its world pre­mière in Novem­ber 2011 with a full house at the Teatro SEA in Man­hat­tan before mov­ing to New York’s Puer­to Rican Trav­el­ing The­atre for a suc­cess­ful sev­en-week run. The show ran from Decem­ber 6 through Decem­ber 16, 2012 at Puer­to Rico’s Teatro Fran­cis­co Arrivi.
  • 2013: “Baseball’s Last Hero: 21 Clemente Sto­ries,” the first fea­ture dra­mat­ic film on Clemente’s life was fin­ished by Cal­i­for­nia film­mak­er and Pitts­burgh native Richard Rossi. Rossi returned to Pitts­burgh to pre­mière his film on Rober­to Clemente’s birth­day, August 18, 2013, before exhibit­ing the film in New York and oth­er cities.