On this day in 1934, Roberto Clemente was born in Puerto Rico and, at that time, no one could predict the large impact he was going to have on the world. Clemente played in the MLB for nearly two decades and, during that time, he did more than show his talent to baseball fans everywhere. Considering his various accolades, including being a World Series Champion, an MVP, and an All-Star, it can easily be argued that Roberto Clemente paved the way for so many other Hispanic athletes in the U.S. If you look at major league baseball now, there is no denying the strong Latin presence, which definitely includes some big names like Robinson Cano and David Ortiz, but the truth is they probably wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for Clemente. The Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder was the first Hispanic to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, making it possible for Cano and Ortiz to even have a shot at getting the same honor. There’s a reason why Clemente has stadiums and statues named in his honor, students do projects on him, and baseball will forever remember him. In 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash to Nicaragua where he was going to help earthquake victims. He would’ve been 79 years old today, but it would be more appropriate to celebrate what he did accomplish, rather than focus on what he didn’t have the chance to.
Happy Birthday Roberto Clemente!