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The Man

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954 Roberto Clemente rose to become the greatest baseball player of his time. During this period, the struggle for social justice had reached every part of our country, and everyballpark. He and many other athletes had to bear the burdens of racial and cultural prejudices, no matter what their abilities were on the field. He faced those burdens with dignity, pride and an empathy for those less fortunate. As for his critics, he silenced them with his amazing bat and miraculous arm. In his 18-year career, he received every possible award given in Major League Baseball. Off the field, he built a reputation as a humanitarian, with a passion to help children through sports. Today he is as well known for his passion for helping others as he is for his passion for baseball.

August 18th, 1934 

Roberto Clemente Walker is born in Barrio San Anton, Carolina, Puerto Rico to Melchor Clemente and Luisa Walker. He was the youngest of seven children. 

1950 

He joined Puerto Rico’s amateur league when he was 16 years old, playing for the Ferdinand Juncos. He later played winter ball for Santurce, San Juan, and Corillo de Caguas. 

October 9th, 1952 

Clemente begins his professional baseball career when he signs with the Cangrejeros de Santurce, a winter league team and franchise of the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League (LBBPR). 

July 25th, 1954 

The first home run of his North American baseball career was an extra inning walk-off in his first at bat as a defensive replacement. 

November 22nd, 1954 

The Pirates select Roberto Clemente with the first pick of the Rookie Draft. 

April 1955 

Clemente is signed to the Pittsburgh Pirates by Branch Rickey. He sent this photograph to his mother signing “To Mother With Love.” It was the first time he was photographed in the Pirates uniform at Forbes Field. 

April 17th, 1955 

Clemente makes his MLB debut. 

July 25th, 1956 

Hits the only documented inside- the-park walk-off grand slam in modern MLB history. 

1958 

Clemente was drafted and placed in the Marine Reserves. While in basic training, he broke two records, one for the most chin-ups and one for fastest through the obstacle course. 

May, 1960 

Clemente wins National League’s Player of the Month Award. 

October 1960 

Wins his first World Series after defeating the heavily favored New York Yankees in seven games. 

1961 

Walk-off single to win the All Star Game. 

1961 

Wins National League Batting Title. 

November 14th, 1964 

Roberto marries Vera Zabala at San Fernando Church in Carolina, Puerto Rico. 

1966 

Wins National League MVP Award. 

1970 

Posts a .352 season batting average. 

1971 

Wins World Series MVP. 

September 30th, 1972 

Collects his 3,000th hit on the final day of the Pirates season. 

October 11th, 1972 

Plays final game with Pittsburgh Pirates. Goes home to coach winter ball with the San Juan Senadores. 

December 31st, 1972 

Dies after the plane he chartered to carry supplies to Nicaragua after the earthquake crashes into the Atlantic 

March 20th, 1973 

Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot with 92.7% of the vote.