An astounding baseball superstar of outshining skills, Roberto Clemente was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico and was an incredible right-fielder who as a minority during his time, found it tough to make it into the majors despite his incredible skills. He was born in August 18th, 1934 and was popular recognized by the world as the great one. Born and raised in a poor family in Puerto Rico, where he came to fall in love with the game, he started his career with the Angeles dodgers.
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His contract was later bought by the Pittsburg Pirates for four thousand dollars in 1954. It was not until 1971 when he achieved his crowning moment in the World Series. His performance in the series that year earned him the Most Valuable Player award. He thrilled his fans with his powerful throwing arm, polished outfield defense, and brilliant hitting abilities. His ancestors were from Puerto Ricans who worked as laborers on the island's coffee and sugar plantations. His father Melchor was in his 50s when he was born in the poor town of Carolina (Thornley 1).
Roberto Clemente was popular and loved by the entire Latino population for being an outspoken advocate for their rights as well as for being a humanitarian. In fact, Roberto Clemente's sudden painful death came while he was leading a mission of mercy (Moraniss 2). With the fame and vast financial abilities that he had, Roberto Clemente had the choice of living a luxurious life away from the hardships that surrounded his home, but he choose to give up his life and help other people who were in need. During his travels with the Pirates in the USA, he had developed a habit of visiting sick children in National League cities.
The hospital visits were not usually publicized, but it was amazing how ailing kids seemed to know about it everywhere. Before every trip they made, he used to sort out a large pile of letters and made a special stack for mails from children in the cities where his team were headed to next. One fine morning in Nicaragua, he met a wheel-chaired 12 year old kid named Julio who had lost one leg while playing on the railway tracks. Even though, he used to seem reserved, sober, and cautious about letting strangers close to him, he saw Julio and knelt by his wheelchair and said that the next world tournament he would be the team batboy. He vowed to help him raise all the money needed to enable him walk with prosthetic legs (Moraniss 13).
Memory and myth are entangled in this great hero's story even though he has been dead for over three decades now. His memories remain vibrant in the minds of a lot of sports lovers while others come and go. This is despite the fact that Roberto Clemente played his career in relative obscurity, far from the mythmakers of New York and Los Angeles. He is for sure a legend considering the fact that forty public schools, around two hundred parks, two hospitals and ball fields are named after him, from Carolina, Puerto Rico, where he was born and raised, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he had his professional career, to even far places like Mannheim, Germany (Moraniss 2).
Truly speaking, Roberto Clemente was not the greatest player to ever grace the game, but still there was something special about this person that elevated him into his own realm. Much of this was influenced by the way this hero lost his life (Moraniss 2). He was quite young when he went down in a plane crash, and worse still, his body was lost to the sea and never found until today. This young hero had left his family behind on a New Year's Eve to come to the aid of strangers on a mission of mercy when he met his death in a tragic plane crush. In his native language Espanola, his name Clemente means merciful. Much of this had to do with the way he lived his life in sainthood. On the pitch one could easily notice of how beautiful, sweet, sentimental, sensitive, selfless, unsettled, serious, haunted, and contradictory he was. He was one man who was intensely proud of everything about himself and his native land (Moraniss 5).
Usually, most ball players lives comprise of eating, sleeping, fooling around, and playing. Many of them wander through their days unaware of anything else, but Roberto Clemente was quite different. This man had a restless intelligence and was always thinking about life, as evident in the way he argued. Clemente had an answer for everything, his own blend of logic and superstition. For example, if you want to keep your hair long, he would say, do not shower with hot water, why do you think they scald the chicken in boiling tubs before plucking feathers (Maraniss 5).
Something outstanding about this incredible baseball player was the fact that he worn the Gold Glove awards, that symbolize his defensive prowess. This was every year since its inauguration in 1961, until his sudden death nine years later. He also made the All-star team twelve times in the national league. In his career, he set a number of other records and more importantly, led his team to two World Championships. In September 30th, 1972, he hit his third millennium hit. Still, he stands out as the first Latino to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (Thornley 2).
Roberto Clemente was born in a poor family in Puerto Rico, where he came to fall in love with the game of baseball. It was not until 1971 when he achieved his crowning moment in the World Series with the Pirates. His performance in the series that year earned him the Most Valuable Player award. He thrilled his fans with his powerful throwing arm, polished outfield defense, and brilliant hitting abilities. Roberto Clemente was popular and loved by the entire Latino population for being an outspoken advocate for their rights as well as for being a humanitarian. Roberto Clemente had the choice of living a luxurious life with vast financial abilities that he had away from the hardships that surrounded his home, but he choose to give up his life and help other people who were in need. Roberto Clemente's sudden painful death came while he was leading a mission of mercy.
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