September 9th, 2020 marks Roberto Clemente Day across the MLB as we look back at the life and legacy of the Great One - Roberto Clemente.
Before becoming a legend in Pittsburgh, Roberto Clemente got his start in Santurce, Puerto Rico, in baseball’s winter league. From there, he became the first Latin American player to start for a World Series-winning team in 1960.
'The Great One' is one of the best all-around baseball players of all time. In a career with a dozen Gold Gloves, 3,000 hits, and 15 All-Star appearances the Puerto Rican was a one-of-a-kind talent. But, Roberto truly transcended the game of baseball and left an indelible impact on future generations that is still inspiring and being felt today.
It was his work off the field that would complete his legacy though and make a true legend. Clemente did a good deal of charity work in the offseason throughout his career and when Managua, Nicaragua was hit with an earthquake on December 23, 1972, he set to work organizing relief efforts.
When he found out that the first three waves of relief supplies never reached their intended destination, he decided to come along to help make sure they made it all the way to Managua. The plane was overloaded and wound up crashing into the ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico shortly after takeoff. Roberto gave the blueprint for future sports stars to use their platform to benefit others.
"He gave the term 'complete' a new meaning," Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn said in his eulogy in 1973. "He made the word 'superstar' seem inadequate. He had about him the touch of royalty.” Long live the spirit of Roberto Clemente.
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