Remembering Roberto Clemente
January 03, 2013
On New Year’s Eve 1972, Pittsburg Pirates star Roberto Clemente boarded a DC-7 aircraft in Puerto Rico filled with food, clothing, and medicine destined for Managua, Nicaragua, which was devastated by an earthquake eight days earlier. Moments after the plane took off, an engine exploded, then three more, and the plane crashed into the ocean. Clemente’s body was never found.
Clemente played 18 years in the Major Leagues, all with the Pirates. During that time, he compiled a .317 batting average, 12 All-Star Game appearances, 12 Gold Gloves, and the 1966 MVP. Clemente’s last regular season hit on September 30, 1972 made him the 10th member of the 3,000 hit club. Off the field, he fought for players rights, held baseball clinics for children from low-income families, and dreamed of opening a "Sports City" in Puerto Rico. Although he did not live long enough to build the sports complex, his wife, Vera, and sons made the dream a reality shortly after his death. Clemente’s legacy lives through the Roberto Clemente Foundation in Pennsylvania, Roberto Clemente Sports City in Carolina, Puerto Rico and the many schools and hospitals dedicated in his honor.