Tag Archives: baseball legend

How Sweet Would It Be To Have A Roberto Clemente Signed Ball In The Collection????

How Sweet Would It Be To Have A Roberto Clemente Signed Ball In The Collection????

As I continue to learn more and more about the life and major league baseball career of Mr. Roberto Clemente, I am starting to understand the impact he had not only on the game, but more importantly, on the sport after he passed away.

Tragically killed in a plane crash more than 40 years ago, the Roberto Clemente signed baseball has to be a gem in any collector’s set regardless of how big or small that collection may be.

Because of his death, and the way that autographs were treated while Clemente was able to sign, there are very few clean, crisp, and mint signed Clemente baseballs out on the open market.  And because of that, it makes any piece signed by him instantly cherished.

I would love a ball for my collection, but the price tag that comes along with it is not something that I can stomach.

Instead, I will simply drool over the idea of having one…

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Roberto Clemente’s Superb 1955 Topps Rookie Baseball Card

Roberto Clemente’s Superb 1955 Topps Rookie Baseball Card

For reasons unknown, this 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie baseball card just not carry the same collecting weight as a Jackie Robinson or Mickey Mantle rookie card.

But it should!!

One of the most dynamic players in baseball’s grand history, Roberto Clemente is one of the sport’s most iconic and cherished names.

And of all cards issued since 1950, this one should rank very highly on all ‘Want Lists’.

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Roberto Clemente And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1973

Roberto Clemente And The Hall Of Fame Class Of 1973

Roberto Clemente is one of just two players elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame without having to wait the requisite five years after retirement to gain eligibility.  The other player was Lou Gehrig.

His Hall of Fame plaque reads:

“Member of exclusive 3,000 hits club. Led National League in batting four times. Had four seasons of 200 or more hits while posting lifetime .317 average and 240 home runs. Won Most Valuable Player Award 1966. Rifle-Arm defensive star set NL mark by pacing outfielders in assists five years. Batted .362 in two World Series, hitting in all 14 games.”

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Roberto Clemente’s Untimely Death

Roberto Clemente’s Untimely Death

From Wikipedia:

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 Somozoa 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 Snaguilen 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, former MLB pitcher (1972-1977), helped Clemente load the plane and because of the plane’s weight load, Clemente told him not to go with 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.”

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Roberto Clemente And The ‘3,000 Hits Club’

Roberto Clemente And The ‘3,000 Hits Club’

Roberto Clemente joined the ‘3,000 Hits Club’ on September 30, 1972.  The hit, a double, came off of Mets pitcher John Matlack and it came in his last at-bat of the 1972 baseball season.

Clemente was tragically killed in an airplane crash during the offseason.  His career ended with 3,000 hits.

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Roberto Clemente, #21

Roberto Clemente, #21

The #21 jersey worn by Roberto Clemente was retired by the Pirates in 1973.  His jersey is one of just nine to be retired by the franchise.

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I think it is time that major league baseball consider retiring #21 in the same way that they have honored Jackie Robinson’s #42.  Clemente was the first hispanic player voted into the Hall of Fame and the first Latin player to win a World Series while starting for the team.  And most importantly, he is known as being one of the most philanthropic athletes of all-time.

Major league baseball, you have my approval on this!

Roberto Clemente Is A 2-Time World Series Champion, With MVP Honors

Roberto Clemente Is A 2-Time World Series Champion, With MVP Honors

During his 18 seasons as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Roberto Clemente made it to four postseasons.

He competed in 2 World Series match-ups, winning both titles.  In those World Series games, Clemente compiled a .362 batting average with 21 hits, 4 runs scored, and 7 RBI.

His performance in the 1971 World Series was so strong that it earned him the World Series MVP.

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Roberto Clemente : The 1966 National League Most Valuable Player

Roberto Clemente : The 1966 National League Most Valuable Player

Roberto Clemente put it all together in 1966.

He was an All-Star.

He won a Gold Glove Award.

And he was the National League MVP.

The numbers: 202 hits in 154 games played, .317 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, 31 doubles, 11 triples, 29 home runs, 105 runs scored, 119 RBI, and 342 total bases.

A truly magnificent season that culminated in a very deserving tag of ‘Most Valuable Player’.

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Roberto Clemente Was A 4-Time Batting Champion!!!

Roberto Clemente Was A 4-Time Batting Champion!!!

Rarely mentioned when discussing the greatest hitters in the sport’s grand history, or even during his era, it should be noted that Roberto Clemente was a fantastic hitter.

He collected four batting crowns during his playing days, and retired from the sport with a .317 career average.

His batting titles were impressive:
.351 in 1961
.339 in 1964
.329 in 1965
.357 in 1967

He also led the National League in hits twice – in 1964 with 211 hits and in 209 hits in 1967.

Maybe it is time to start mentioning his name with the likes of Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Bill Madlock, and Wade Boggs…

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Roberto Clemente Won 12 Gold Glove Awards For Defensive Excellence

Roberto Clemente Won 12 Gold Glove Awards For Defensive Excellence

With uncanny speed and arm strength that was unparalleled, Roberto Clemente was a fixture as a top defensive outfielder for most of his career.

Clemente captured 12 Gold Gloves in twelve straight seasons from 1961-1972.  He is the Pittsburgh Pirates all-time leader in Gold Glove Awards won.

In a recent radio interview, Tim Kurkjian called Clemente the single-best defensive outfielder that he has ever seen.  And that is good enough for me!!!

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