The life story of the first Hispanic superstar in baseball history. Roberto Clemente was a trailblazer. A black Puerto Rican, he was the first Latin superstar in baseball history. He was also the first primarily Spanish speaking star in MLB. He is, to this day, regarded as a hero in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Clemente grew up poor but proud in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rican; an American citizen but still an outsider. It was obvious from an early age that Clemente was a superb athlete and like many other Latinos, baseball was his sport.
Clemente was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers who tried to hide him in their Minor League system but the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired him. His first few years were rocky both on and off the field. He spoke very little English at first, which made things difficult for him. Eventually his language skills improved but he was still mocked by sports writers and fans for his mediocre English.
By 1960, Clemente's play became phenomenal. He was a consistent .300 hitter and one of the best defensive RF's in baseball history. His arm was preternaturally strong and few runners dared test it, for when they did they were out.
Clemente's 1960 Pirates defeated the New York Yankees in a thrilling 7 game World Series. Clemente was outspoken about the racism that he believed denied him the MVP award in that season. Finally, in 1966, he was voted the National League's MVP and he should have won again in 1967.
Clemente remained devoted to his home island of Puerto Rico and Hispanics everywhere. He was a hero and his popularity led to a massive influx of Latin players.
The Pittsburgh Pirates won their second World Series of the Clemente era in 1971. Clemente was the MVP of the series and his fame reached new heights as he outplayed fellow veteran star Frank Robinson.
In 1972, Clemente achieved his 3,000th hit in what turned out to be the last game of his career. When a devastating earthquake hit Nicaruagua, Clemente threw himself into the relief effort. He chartered a plane, filled it with relief supplies and rode on it to Nicaragua. He never arrived, the plane crash killing Clemente and everyone aboard.
He was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in a special election in 1973. He remains a hero to Spanish speaking people everywhere.
Best part of story, including ending:
I love baseball and Clemente was one of the greatest players in its history.
Best scene in story:
The account of the 1971 World Series and Clemente's thrilling play.
Opinion about the main character:
He was a tough minded, compassionate and caring person.