Sunday was the anniversary of Roberto Clemente passing away in a plane crash, as he was making a trip to Nicaragua to help out victims of a recent earthquake. Clemente was just 38 years old at the time of his death and had just gotten his 3,000th career hit a few months earlier. The statistics show an unbelievable player; he was pretty much the definition of a five-tool player. Career .317 hitter. Career wRC+ of 129. Eight seasons of 5+ WAR, with 80.6 career fWAR. He could hit, he could run, he could field and he could lead. Clemente was more than just a ball player, as he was a known for his charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Roberto Clemente was everything great about baseball but don’t just take it from me. Here are some highlights of a man’s career and life.
As someone who never got to watch Clemente play, it’s a bit harder to grasp what all he meant to not only baseball, but to Puerto Ricans at the time. This wasn’t just a player who put up great numbers and helped his team win a world title. Clemente transcended the game and is a benchmark for even the Latin players of today. The good thing is that even for those of us that never witnessed him in person, the stories carry on his greatness and his message. It’s not just that every player should strive to be like Roberto Clemente. No, it’s more that as a person we should strive to be as great as Clemente was as a human being.
New Year’s Eve will always be bittersweet … because of Roberto. Imagine what he would have done for the world — far beyond baseball — if he had had a full life to do it! What a great tribute, thanks for sharing it!
There are certain players-Gibson, Williams, Clemente-that I never got to watch in their prime that I wish I had. The idea of Clemente continuing the charity work would be immeasurable. The fact players still point to him as inspiration show the true impact he left behind.