This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

Clemente, Roberto | Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame

Search

Jump to content

Hall of Famers

Share this page:

Share on facebook Share on twitter

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente Walker
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1973
Primary team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Primary position: Right Fielder

“He played a kind of baseball that none of us had ever seen before… As if it were a form of punishment for everyone else on the field.” – Roger Angell

The numbers he assembled over 18 big league seasons tell the story of a complete ballplayer.

The story of Roberto Clemente, however, goes beyond mere numbers.

Born Aug. 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Clemente excelled in athletics as a youngster – and at the age of 17 was playing for the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican Baseball League. The Dodgers signed him the following year, and by 1954 he was playing for their Triple-A team in Montreal.

“Well, I said to myself, there’s a boy who can do two things as well as any man who ever lived,” said Dodgers scout Clyde Sukeforth. “Nobody could throw any better than that, and nobody could run any better than that.”

Following the 1954 season, however, the Dodgers tried to slip Clemente through the offseason without putting him on the big league roster. He was taken by the Pirates in the Rule 5 draft for $4,000.

Clemente worked to find his stride during the next five seasons, battling injuries and a language barrier in a country where he was a citizen but had no home. But in 1960, the Pirates and Clemente came of age as the limber right fielder batted .312 with a team-high 94 RBI to lead the Pirates to the World Series. In the Fall Classic, Clemente hit .310 to help the Pirates defeat the Yankees in seven games.

During the next seven years, Clemente won four National League batting titles, the 1966 NL Most Valuable Player Award and began a string of 12 straight Gold Glove Award seasons in right field.

In 1971, the 37-year-old Clemente led the Pirates back to the World Series, where Clemente hit .414 to power Pittsburgh to another world title en route to the Series’ Most Valuable Player Award.

Clemente recorded his 3,000th career hit late in the 1972 season, becoming just the 11th player to reach the milestone. Clemente and the Pirates won the NL East that year, but lost to the Reds in five games in the National League Championship Series.

On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente boarded a small plane en route from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua to assist with earthquake relief. The heavily loaded plane crashed just off the Puerto Rican coast, and Clemente’s body was never recovered.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973 in a special election that waived the mandatory five-year waiting period.

“Baseball survives,” wrote columnist Jimmy Cannon of the New York Journal-American, “because guys like Clemente still play it.”

View Plaque in 3D See career statistics From the collection View related content

DID YOU KNOW

that Roberto Clemente earned 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his excellence in right field?

"He gave the term ‘complete’ a new meaning. He made the word ‘superstar’ seem inadequate. He had about him the touch of royalty. " Bowie Kuhn (Former Commissioner)

Shop

Pirates Gear

Represent the all-time greats and know your purchase plays a part in preserving baseball history.

Shop Now

Join

Pirates Membership Card

Relive your cherished baseball memories and favorite moments from your team with your personalized membership card.

Join Today

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS Year Inducted: 1973 See 5 more from 1973 Primary Team: Pittsburgh Pirates See 12 more from Pittsburgh Pirates Position Played: Right Fielder See 23 more from this position Bats: Right See 172 more right handed batters Throws: Right See 234 more right handed throwers Birth place: Carolina, Puerto Rico See 3 more from Puerto Rico Birth year: 1934 See 5 more born this year Died: 1972, San Juan. Puerto Rico Played for: Pittsburgh Pirates (1955-1972) CAREER AT A GLANCEGamesG 2433 At BatsAB 9454 RunsR 1416 HitsH 3000 Doubles2B 440 Triples3B 166 Home RunsHR 240 RBIRBI 1305 Stolen BasesSB 83 WalksBB 621 Batting AverageBA .317 OPSOPS .834 On Base %OBP .359 Slugging %SLG .475 See more stats on baseball-reference.com

From the collection

  • Bat used by Roberto Clemente of Pittsburgh Pirates to record his 3000th career hit - B-350-72 (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame)

    Share this image:

    Share on facebook Share on twitter
  • Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates, approaches the plate at Wrigley Field in Chicago, August 21, 1963 - BL-4369-2000 (Don Sparks/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

    Share this image:

    Share on facebook Share on twitter

Videos of interest

Related content

Explore more Inductees