Remembering a great boricua: Happy birthday Roberto Clemente
Known as a legendary baseball icon to many, Roberto Clemente was born August 18, 1934 in Carolina, Puerto Rico. He would've been 81 today.
Drafted in 1954 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the right fielder became one of MLB's first Latin American superstars.
“He didn’t see himself as merely a representative of Latin America to the world through baseball. He saw his career in baseball as a way to help Latin Americans — especially underprivileged Puerto Ricans — make their lives better,” stated the Smithsonian Institute.
"Always, they said Babe Ruth was the best there was. They said you’d really have to be something to be like Babe Ruth. But Babe Ruth was an American player. What we needed was a Puerto Rican player they could say that about, someone to look up to and try to equal."
— Roberto Clemente National League Most Valuable Player, 1966
Clemente was a four-time National League batting champion who helped the Pirates win the World Series in 1960 and 1971. According to MLB.com, “At the end of his storied 18-year career, Clemente had compiled a .317/.359/.475 slash line, 3,000 hits, 12 All-Star selections, 12 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award and two World Series titles.”
The Hall of Fame player died in a plane crash in 1972, while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.