Roberto Clemente

May 21, 2008
By Louis Arens, Commack, NY

Roberto Clemente
If I could meet one athlete that is no longer living, I would choose to meet Roberto Clemente. Clemente is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and is considered one of the better baseball players who ever played in the major leagues. He was born on August 18, 1934 in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and died on December 31, 1972. On December 31, 1972, Clemente had taken upon himself to direct personally a relief mission to earthquake torn Nicaragua. While on the way to Nicaragua, Clemente and four others loaded a small DC-7 plane with food and supplies that never got past the San Juan border as the plane almost immediately crashed into 30 feet of water in the Caribbean Sea. Usually, there is a five year wait until a baseball player can be voted into the Hall of Fame, but The Baseball’s Writer Association voted Roberto Clemente into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on August 8, 1973 without the wait. This made him the first Latino to be inducted.

Roberto Clemente played in the MLB from 1955-1972 (but he was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952, and was then traded to the Pittsburg Pirates in 1955 when he began playing). In this time, he played 2,433 games, hit 3,000 hits, 240 home runs, 1,305 RBI’s, had an overall .317 batting average, .359 on base percentage, and a .475 slugging average. Clemente also won many Gold Glove awards in the outfield, won the National League MVP in 1966, and was the World Series MVP in 1971.

If I could ever actually meet Roberto Clemente, I would ask him what it was like to be such a great and famous baseball player. I would also ask how he feels about being the first Latino to ever be accepted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Even today, people (including Jorge Posada) have funds that donate to countries like Nicaragua that are less fortunate than us in honor of Clemente.

Roberto Clemente was a great athlete and person. I think that it is a great thing when baseball players like Joe Torre and Jorge Posada make funds to donate to a good cause. So many people in American have so much money, and many people don’t even think about others in different countries that barely have enough to have dinner every night. Roberto Clemente died doing a great thing.

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