Memorable baseball star Roberto Clemente Walker (1934-1972), called "The Great One," was born on this day in the small town of Carolina, Puerto Rico, the youngest of seven children.
Pursing his love of baseball at a young age, he was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates in 1954 and played for the team for over 18 years.
The great athlete once said, "I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball."
The winner of 12-straight Gold Glove Awards (1961-1972) for "superior individual fielding performance," his strength and skill in right field--complete with dynamic basket catches--were legendary.
"Clemente could field the ball in New York," explained announcer Vin Scully, "and throw a guy out in Pennsylvania."
Clemente, #21, won four National League batting crowns and the 1966 Most Valuable Player award. Named to the National League All-Star team 12 times, his career totals included 3,000 hits, a .317 lifetime average, 240 homers, and 1,305 runs batted in.
A true sports hero and advocate for equality, Clemente was a dedicated humanitarian who had a passionate commitment to helping others. He died tragically in an airplane crash on his way to deliver relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
In 1973, Clemente became the first Latin American player enshrined in the Hall of Fame and the second baseball player, after Jackie Robinson, to have his image on a U.S. postage stamp. His 12-foot bronze statue was unveiled at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Stadium in 1994.
"I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give," Clemente said.
More BASEBALL Quotations
Let yesterday go. Live for today.