Roberto Clemente Research Paper

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Athletes around the world strive every day to not only succeed on the court or on the field, but they also hope to make a difference off the field and in the community. Many aspire to be role models as well as sources of inspiration for youths, and for many of them, their dreams of being professional athletes sprouted from watching their predecessors compete. Puerto Rican baseball player and philanthropist, Roberto Clemente, was one of the most well regarded players in sport’s history and his story stretched well beyond his Hall of Fame career on the field. Clemente’s statistics ranked him among some of the best players in baseball history, but his role in the Latin American community and his powerful ethnic pride and humanitarianism impacted…show more content…
His parents, Don Melachor Clemente and Dona Luisa Walker raised a family of seven, Clemente was the youngest (Holleran). Unlike many generalizations made that Latin American players come from impoverished backgrounds, Clemente grew up in a middle class family, as his father worked at the local sugar mill while his mother looked after the household needs (Regalado 167). Clemente was first introduced to baseball at a young age and immediately took a keen interest to the sport. He began by playing locally in San Juan’s sandlots against other local “barrios” or neighborhoods (Regalado 167). As Clemente grew up it was obvious around town that he was a great person and an even better athlete. He started his baseball career playing in the Puerto Rican amateur league for Ferdinand Juncos and at the age of 18, he was offered his first professional contract by the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican winter league (Holleran). In 1954, after a successful season with the Crabbers, the Brooklyn Dodgers offered Clemente a Major League Baseball contract where his career commenced for their minor league affiliate, the Montreal Royals (Musick…show more content…
(Mendelson). For the next 18 years, Roberto Clemente wore the notorious Pirates’ black and yellow uniform. In his early seasons and even into the prime of his career, Clemente was many times overlooked and undervalued (Mendelson). This motivated him to play harder than ever and it showed on the field. Clemente was famous for his spectacular defense and his never before seen rocket of an arm. In 1960, a red hot Clemente and the Pirates faced off against the New York Yankees in the World Series (Baseball Reference). The Pirates ended up winning the World Series and he was a major factor to the team’s victory, but as the team’s only Latin player, Clemente was overshadowed by the likes of Mickey Mantle and Bill Mazeroski, and did not receive recognition for his play on the field. (Mendelson). The 1960s marked Clemente’s prime, in which he was awarded nine All-Star game appearances and nine Gold Glove awards and in 1965, he was recognized with Major League Baseball’s highest honor, Most Valuable Player (Baseball Reference). He later led the Pirates to another World Series title in 1971 and in 1972 reached the 3,000 hit milestone that at the time, only ten others had reached. At the culmination of his career, Clemente finished with a career batting average of .317 and ranked in the Pirates’ top ten in
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