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Mon Sep 30, 2019, 06:05 AM

47 Years Ago Today; Roberto Clemente hits his 3000th, and final hit in MLB

Last edited Mon Sep 30, 2019, 08:03 AM - Edit history (1)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Clemente



Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker (Spanish pronunciation: [roˈβeɾto enˈrike kleˈmente (g)walˈkeɾ]; August 18, 1934 – December 31, 1972) was a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming both the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. His untimely death established the precedent that, as an alternative to the five-year retirement period, a player who has been deceased for at least six months is eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.

Clemente was an All-Star for 12 seasons, playing in 15 All-Star Games. He was the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player in 1966, the NL batting leader in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and a Gold Glove Award winner for 12 consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. His batting average was over .300 for 13 seasons and he had 3,000 hits during his major league career. He also played in two World Series championships. Clemente is the first Latin American and Caribbean player to help win a World Series as a starting position player (1960), to receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).

Clemente was involved in charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off-seasons, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. On December 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old. The following season, the Pirates retired his uniform number 21, and MLB renamed its annual Commissioner's Award in his honor; now known as the Roberto Clemente Award, it is given to the player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team".

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Pittsburgh Pirates, 1970s
The 1970 season was the last one that the Pirates played at 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 attire. 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 season, Clemente compiled a .352 batting average; the Pirates won the NL East pennant but were subsequently eliminated by the Cincinnati Reds. During the offseason, Roberto Clemente experienced some tense situations while he was working as manager of the Senadores and when his father, Melchor Clemente, experienced medical problems and underwent surgery.

In the 1971 season, the Pirates won the NL East, defeated the San Francisco Giants in four games to win the NL pennant, and faced the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Baltimore had won 101 games (third season in row with 100+ wins) 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 helped win a World Series for the Pirates. Over the course of the series, Clemente had a .414 batting 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.

3000th hit
Although he was frustrated and struggling with injuries, Clemente played in 102 games and hit .312 during the 1972 season. He also made the annual NL All-Star roster for the 12th time (he played in 14/15 All-Star games) and won his 12th consecutive Gold Glove. On September 30, he hit a double in the 4th inning off Jon Matlack of the New York Mets at Three Rivers Stadium for his 3,000th hit. It was his last regular season at-bat of his career. By playing in right field in one more regular season game, on October 3, Clemente passed Honus Wagner's record for games played as a Pittsburgh Pirate, with 2,433 games played. In the NL playoffs that season, he batted .235 as he went 4 for 17. His last game was October 11, 1972 at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium in the fifth and final game of the 1972 NLCS. He and Bill Mazeroski were the last Pirate players remaining from the 1960 World Series championship team.

Personal life
Clemente was married on November 14, 1963 to Vera Zabala at San Fernando Church in Carolina. The couple had three children: Roberto, Jr., born in 1965, Luis Roberto, born in 1966, and Roberto Enrique, born in 1969.

Charity work and 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 December 23, 1972, Clemente (who visited 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. He 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 cargo plane, had a history of mechanical problems and an insufficient number of flight personnel (missing both a flight engineer and copilot), and was overloaded by 4,200 pounds. It crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico immediately after takeoff on December 31, 1972 due to engine failure.

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. The bodies of Clemente and three others who were also on the four-engine plane were never recovered.

Montreal Expos pitcher Tom Walker, then playing winter league ball in Puerto Rico (in a league later named after Clemente), helped Clemente load the plane. Either because of the plane's weight load or because Clemente 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 current Miami Marlins infielder and former Met and Pirate Neil Walker.

In an interview for the ESPN documentary series SportsCentury in 2002, Clemente's widow Vera mentioned that Clemente had told her several times that he thought he was going to die young. Indeed, while being asked by broadcaster and future fellow Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn in July 1971 during the All-Star Game activities about when he would get his 3,000 career hit, 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 stepbrother, Luis, died on December 31, 1954 and his stepsister 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). He won 12 Gold Glove Awards and shares the record of most won among outfielders with Willie Mays. On July 25, 1956, in a 9–8 Pittsburgh win against the Chicago Cubs, Clemente hit the only walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in professional baseball history.

Hall of Fame
On March 20, 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 out of 420 available votes, for 92.7% of the vote.

Clemente's Hall of Fame plaque originally had his name as "Roberto Walker Clemente" instead of the proper Spanish format "Roberto Clemente Walker"; the plaque was recast in 2000 to correct the error.

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Reply 47 Years Ago Today; Roberto Clemente hits his 3000th, and final hit in MLB (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Sep 30 OP
Botany Sep 30 #1
Dennis Donovan Sep 30 #4
Blue_Tires Sep 30 #2
Guilded Lilly Sep 30 #3
pecosbob Sep 30 #5

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2019, 07:17 AM

1. They used to call him "uppity" because they wanted to make him more "white nice" and they ....

.... tried calling him Bobby but he would correct them and say "mi llamo is Roberto" ... my name is
Roberto.

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Response to Botany (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 30, 2019, 08:04 AM

4. ...and I misspelled Roberto (left off the o) and didn't notice for 2 hrs.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2019, 07:25 AM

2. k+r

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2019, 07:28 AM

3. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Clemente was my first sport hero...

To all of Pittsburgh actually. His passing stunned us all and even as a young kid, it affected me.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2019, 08:34 AM

5. He was truly a wonder to behold

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