Roberto Clemente (1934 - 1972)

ADVERTISEMENT BY ANCESTRY.COM

Summary

Roberto Clemente’s biography is built and maintained by people like you. Create an online profile of Roberto Enrique so that his life is remembered forever. If any factual information is incorrect, please edit Roberto Enrique’s biography.

Roberto Clemente
This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Clemente and the second or maternal family name is Walker.
Roberto Clemente
Clemente in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 1958
Right fielder
Born: August 18, 1934
Barrio San Antón, Carolina, Puerto Rico
Died: December 31, 1972 (aged 38)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1955, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1972, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average .317
Hits 3,000
Home runs 240
Runs batted in 1,305
Teams
Pittsburgh Pirates (1955–1972)
Career highlights and awards
15× All-Star (1960–1967, 1969–1972)
2× World Series champion (1960, 1971)
NL MVP (1966)
World Series MVP (1971)
12× Gold Glove Award (1961–1972)
4× NL batting champion (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967)
Pittsburgh Pirates #21 retired
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Inducted 1973
Vote 92.7% (first ballot)
Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker[a] (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 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 twelve seasons, playing in fifteen All-Star Games.[b] He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1966, the NL batting leader in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and a Gold Glove Award winner for twelve consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. His batting average was over .300 for thirteen 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 starter (1960), to receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).
Clemente was married in 1964; he and his wife had three children. He 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.
Clemente showed interest in baseball early in life and often played against neighboring barrios. He attended Vizcarrondo High School in Carolina. During his first year in high school, he was recruited by Roberto Marín to play softball with the Sello Rojo team after Marín saw Clemente playing baseball in barrio San Antón. He was with the team two years as shortstop.
Evidently, Macon took Sukeforth at his word; scarcely had the Pirate scout departed when, on June 4,[10] Clemente started his first game in over a month. In the course of two days and three games (two of which he started), Clemente amassed ten at-bats, two more than in the previous thirty games combined. Yet just as abruptly, the moment was over and he was back to riding the bench, this time for almost two months.
Clemente's extra inning, walk-off home run of July 25, 1954, the first home run of his North American baseball career, He was hit in his first at-bat after entering the game as a defensive replacement, ending a nearly two-month-long drought starting on June 6 (17 appearances, 6 starts, and 24 at-bats in 60 games).
From this point forward, Clemente's playing time increased significantly; he started every subsequent game against a left-handed starting pitcher, finishing the season with a batting average of .257 in 87 games. Clemente would complement his July 25 walk-off homer with another on September 5, as well as a walk-off outfield assist (cutting down the potential tying run at the plate) on August 18, his 20th birthday. As promised, the Pirates made Clemente the first selection of the rookie draft that took place on November 22, 1954.
Major League Baseball (1955–72)
During much of his MLB career, Clemente was commonly referred to as "Bob Clemente" by sportswriters and announcers,[19] and on baseball merchandise such as his annual Topps baseball trading cards (except the early 1950s and 1970s cards);[20] this despite the fact he clearly preferred being called by his given first name.[21] Also, most of his English-speaking teammates, uncomfortable with the foreign-sounding "Roberto", likewise resorted to Bob or Bobby.[22] By the late 1960s, this practice had become the exception, not the rule; still, it was never entirely eradicated, as evidenced on September 30, 1972, the occasion of Clemente's 3,000th and final regular season hit, when Pirates announcer Bob Prince referred to him as "Bobby" while calling the game for KDKA.[23][24] Clemente wore number 21, later retired by the Pirates,representing the number of letters in his full name, Roberto Clemente Walker.
During the off-seasons (except the 1958–59, 1962–63, 1965–66, 1968–69, 1971–72, and 1972–73 seasons), Clemente played professionally (and sometimes managed the San Juan team) for the Santurce Crabbers, Criollos de Caguas, and San Juan Senadores in the Puerto Rican baseball winter league, where he was considered a star.
In September 1958, Clemente joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He went on to serve 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 recruit training with Platoon 346 of the 3rd Recruit Battalion. The rigorous Marine Corps training programs helped Clemente physically; he added strength by gaining ten pounds and said his back troubles (caused by being in a 1954 auto accident, see below) had disappeared. He was a private first class in the Marine Corps Reserve until September 1964.
Pittsburgh Pirates, 1950s
The Pirates experienced several difficult seasons through the 1950s, although they did manage a winning season in 1958, their first since 1948.
Clemente debuted with the Pirates on April 17, 1955 wearing uniform number 13, in the first game of a doubleheader 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, as he was a Latin American and Caribbean player who knew very little English, and was Black, being of African descent. The year before, the Pirates had become the fifth team in the NL and ninth in the major leagues to break the baseball color line when they hired Curt Roberts who debuted with the team. This was seven years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color line with the Dodgers. Upon arriving in Pittsburgh, Roberts befriended Clemente and helped him adjust to life in the major league, as well as to get used to life in the Pittsburgh area.
Clemente had to sit out several games during his rookie season, due to a back injury suffered the previous winter in Puerto Rico, when a drunk driver rammed into his car at an intersection.[38] He finished his rookie season with a .255 batting average, despite confronting trouble hitting certain types of pitches.
His defensive skills were highlighted during this season.
The following season, on July 25, 1956 in Forbes Field, Clemente hit the only documented walk-off, inside-the-park grand slam in modern MLB play.
Pittsburgh Pirates, 1960s
A statue of Clemente is outside of PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
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.[76]

Roberto Clemente Biography & Family History

This genealogy profile is dedicated to the life and ancestry of Roberto Clemente and his immediate Walker family. Add to Roberto Clemente's genealogy page to share your memories & historical research with his family and other genealogy hobbyists.

Roberto Clemente was also known as:

Roberto Enrique Walker (Clemente)

Birth

Death

in

Cause of death

There is no cause of death listed for Roberto Enrique.

Burial / Funeral

Do you know the final resting place - gravesite in a cemetery or location of cremation - of Roberto Clemente? Add burial and funeral information.

Obituary

Last Known Residence

Did Roberto Enrique move a lot? Did he emigrate from another country? Add Roberto Enrique's last known location.

Average Age

Life Expectancy

Family

Add family members

Education

Did Roberto Enrique finish grade school, get a GED, go to high school, get a college degree or masters? What schools or universities did Roberto Enrique attend? Add education.

Professions

Share what Roberto Enrique did for a living or if he had a career or profession. Add Profession.

Organizations

Add organizations, groups and memberships.

Military Service

It is unknown if Roberto Clemente is a military veteran.

Middle name

Clemente

Surnames

Ethnicity

Unknown. Add Roberto Enrique's ethnicity.

Nationality

Unknown. Add Roberto Enrique's nationality.

Religion

Unknown. Was Roberto Enrique a religious man? Add Roberto Enrique’s religion

Gender

Male

Timeline

1934 - In the year that Roberto Clemente was born, on November 11th 1933, an extremely strong dust storm hit South Dakota, stripping topsoil. Other strong dust storms had occurred during 1933. Severe droughts continued to hit the Great Plains and the dust storms devastated agricultural production as well as people's' lives for several years. The Roosevelt administration and scientists eventually determined that farming practices had caused the conditions that led to the dust storms and the changes they implemented in farming stopped the Dust Bowl.

1943 - At the age of just 9 years old, Roberto Enrique was alive when on March 31st, the Broadway musical Oklahoma! opened. Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (the first of their string of successful collaborations), audiences loved it. The musical ran for 2,212 performances originally and was made into a movie in 1954.

1947 - Roberto Enrique was merely 13 years old when in June, the Marshall Plan was proposed to help European nations recover economically from World War II. It passed the conservative Republican Congress in March of 1948. After World War I, the economic devastation of Germany caused by burdensome reparations payments led to the rise of Hitler. The Allies didn't want this to happen again and the Marshall Plan was devised to make sure that those conditions didn't arise again.

1948 - Roberto Enrique was merely 14 years old when on May 14th, the State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben-Gurion, who became Israel's first Premier, and the U.S. officially recognized Israel. That evening, Egypt launched an air assault on Israel.

1972 - In the year of Roberto Clemente's passing, on June 17th, 5 men were arrested by police in an attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C.’s Watergate hotel. The burglars were found to be paid by cash from a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President - the official organization of President Nixon's campaign.

Roberto Clemente Family Tree

Who was Roberto Enrique’s parents? Did he get married and did they have children? Share Roberto Enrique’s family tree to share his legacy and genealogy pedigree.

Roberto Enrique's Family
Add a parent
Add a parent
Roberto Clemente
Add a partner
Add a child
Add a sibling

You can add or remove people from Roberto Enrique's family tree by clicking here.

Obituary

This obit of Roberto Clemente is updated by the community. Edit this biography to contribute to his obituary. Include details such as cemetery, burial, newspaper obituary and grave or marker inscription if available.

January 2, 1973
OBITUARY
Clemente, Pirates' Star, Dies in Crash Of Plane Carrying Aid to Nicaragua
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
SAN JUAN, P. R., Jan. 1--Roberto Clemente, star outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died late last night in the crash of a cargo plane carrying relief supplies to the victims of the earthquake in Managua.
Three days of national mourning for Mr. Clemente were proclaimed in his native Puerto Rico, where he was the most popular sports figure in the island's history. He is a certainty to be enshrined in Baseball's Hall of Fame. He was only the 11th man in baseball history to get 3,000 hits, and his lifetime batting average of .317 was the highest among active players.
Mr. Clemente, who was 38 years old, won the National League batting championship four times in his 18-season career, was named to the All-Star team 12 times and in 1966 was named the league's Most Valuable Player. He was also one of the finest defensive outfielders with a very strong throwing arm. He led the Pittsburgh Pirates to two world championships, in 1960 and 1971, the latter time being named the Most Valuable Player in the World Series.
Mr. Clemente was the leader of Puerto Rican efforts to aid the Nicaraguan victims and was aboard the plane because he suspected that relief supplies were falling into the hands of profiteers.
The four-engined DC-7 piston-powered plane crashed moments after takeoff from San Juan International Airport at 9:22 P.M.
The plane, carrying a crew of three and one other passenger, came down in heavy seas a mile and a half from shore.
Coast Guard planes circled the area trying to locate the plane by the light of flares. The wreckage was not found until 5 P.M. today in about 100 feet of water. There was no sign of survivors.
Airport officials said the plane crashed after making a normal left bank while climbing after the takeoff. It could not be learned if the pilot, identified as Jerry Hill, radioed that he was in difficulty.
Cristobal Colon, a friend of Mr. Clemente who was working on the committee to raise funds and collect clothing for the earthquake victims, said he had driven Mr. Clemente and his wife, Vera, to the airport. Mrs. Clemente did not board the plane.
Mrs. Clemente said she was concerned that the plane seemed old and overloaded, but her husband assured her that everything would be all right. When the pilot did not show up until late, she said he told her, "If there is one more delay, we'll leave this for tomorrow."
Mr. Colon said Mr. Clemente had insisted on going with the flight to make certain that the supplies got into the hands of the people who needed them. "He had received reports that some of the food and clothing he had sent earlier had fallen into the hands of profiteers," said Mr. Colon.
Mr. Clemente had been asked to take part in the collection of funds by Luis Vigoraux, a television producer.
"He did not just lend his name to the fund-raising activities the way some famous personalities do," said Mr. Vigoraux. "He took over the entire thing, arranging for collection points, publicity and the transportation to Nicaragua."
Mr. Clemente's relief organization had collected $150,000 in cash and tons of clothing and foodstuffs. More money and clothing are still being donated.
"We sent a ship loaded with supplies during the week," said a member of the earthquake relief committee. "One of the reasons Roberto went on the plane was to get there before the ship arrived to see the supplies were distributed properly."
The baseball star was supposed to be met at the airport by Anastasio Somoza, the Nicaraguan military leader, a friend said.
Mr. Clemente's interest in Nicaragua may have been heightened by his experience in managing the Puerto Rican team that participated in the amateur world series held in Managua in late November and December. Sixteen teams participated. The Puerto Ricans took fifth place.
News of Mr. Clemente's death plunged Puerto Rico into mourning.
Gov. Louis A. Ferre decreed three days of mourning and Governor-elect Rafael Hernandez Colon, who will be sworn into office tomorrow, ordered the cancellation of an inaugural ball and all other social activities related to the inauguration.



Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Memories

What do you remember about Roberto Clemente? Share your memories of special moments and stories you have heard about him. Or just leave a comment to show the world that Roberto Enrique is remembered.

Write a comment

Other Records of Roberto Clemente

ADVERTISEMENT BY ANCESTRY.COM

Other Biographies

Success Stories from Biographies like Roberto Clemente

I have to tell you a VERY special story about how AncientFaces helped to reunite our family. For 13 years, I have been searching for my grandmother's missing sister. She just disappeared from the family in the 1930s without a trace. No one ever knew where or when she died or where she was buried. My years of searching have just run into dead ends, so I had given up. Today, out-of-the-blue, a young lady called me and said that she had seen a photograph on AncientFaces and one of the women in the photo was her grandmother! Little did I know that she had left a small child behind when she died so young of TB. You can imagine our shock and excitement at finding each other and a whole new family that we never knew existed. We only live one state away from each other and very soon plan to have all family members meet to share our sides of "the story" and of course, many, many more picturesl AncientFaces...... without you, this family may never have been complete and Aunt Grace would have been lost to us forever. I hope you realize what a valuable service you provide and how grateful we are to have found you. Thank you!!!! -Lynda B.
I never knew my biological family. My family is my mother and father who raised me. But, as I got older I got curious about my heritage. It took me years of investigation to finally discover my parents’ names. Well, I get goosebumps just writing this, I have found my biological family because of AncientFaces. Yes!! I did a search for my [parents' names] and was shocked to find a photo of them on AncientFaces! I cannot tell you the feeling that came over me when I saw this photo - to see the faces of my biological parents…JUST LIKE THAT. I left a comment on the photo and you won’t believe this - the owner of the photo is MY SISTER!!! Yes, I have a LITTLE sister! It turns out my parents were too young when they had me and had to give me up. My little sister knew I existed and wanted to find me but had no way of doing it. Thanks to you I am meeting my little sister for the first time next month. GOD BLESS YOU ANCIENTFACES. -Anonymous
We have found our missing relative entirely thanks to AncientFaces. We have received a much clearer photo of Captain Grant from his Son. The picture we on AncientFaces is an old yellowed newspaper photo. I am attaching the new photo and ask that you take the old one out and put the new clear picture in its place. With our Canadian Remembrance Day here in 2 days - the timing could not be better. Thank You, AncientFaces. My long lost Aunt is now 86 years old and her Son and I are talking by phone and e-mails. Captain Grant was his Father and died in France in 1944 and is buried there. By posting pictures of the visit to his gravesite - we connected through one of his brothers. Amazing that our prayers have been answered. Thank you -Beth B.
I came home for lunch yesterday and decided to look at my email before going back to work. The weekly newsletter that I subscribe to from the Logan Family History Center had this message in it about AncientFaces. I clicked on the link and the first search I did was for Woodruff, and Mamie was the first picture that came up. I could hardly stand it. I was late getting back to work. I had to add comments and write to you. Thank you for noticing her in the store and for the website. I can't help but wonder how many other family pictures may have ended up in that store and why. I also can't help but feel that it was meant to be and that there is a purpose that this picture is coming home as you say. What are the chances of this all just happening? It's amazing that you even picked it up at the store and then went to all the extra effort to post it. It makes me feel as though you have been my friend forever. It certainly has given me a connection to you, and I have a love for what you do. I just can't tell you how excited I am. I can't even hold it in. -Cathy K., Utah
I have previously submitted several pictures of my grandfather August Zemidat. I have tried for many years to find anyone with that name, and I have searched many genealogy web sites to no avail. Recently I was contacted by someone who saw my pictures on AncientFaces who may well be a cousin. She also provided me with information that seems to indicate her grandparents were my grandfather’s siblings. Considering the many years I have been searching for the name Zemidat, I find this is absolutely amazing that I have finally found a family member. Thank you AncientFaces -Ron D.
I love AncientFaces, a while back I saw that you had labeled Garcia surname pictures. At the time I didn’t have all my family facts for my research. Anyway, I wandered into your site just to check it out AND NOW 1 YEAR LATER I received a picture from an 87 year old aunt and guess what you had this very same picture on your site!! (They were my great aunts and my great-grandmother!). Thank you… -Angela M.
I have loved AncientFaces since I first found it, it's the first thing I check when I turn on the computer. There was a time when even in the most modest households there were three cherished possessions, a family Bible. a family album and a fancy lamp. It was usual for the family to gather in the parlour, generally on Sunday and talk, tell stories of family and friends with the photos in the albums as illustration. Sadly in our modern electronic age we have fallen away from the oral tradition and interest in history has waned. I was quite shocked on the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic to see so many comments from younger people who were surprised to learn that the Titanic wasn't just a movie. This is why AncientFaces is so important, to me it's the electronic age version of the oral tradition on a global scale and the sheer volume of people who follow, comment and contribute seems to prove the point. We are all grateful to you all for providing us with this wonderful site. - Arba M.