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"There is nothing wrong with our homes, our country, that a little more care, a little more concern, a little more love, won't cure."

— Roberto Clemente

Batting helmet and Pittsburgh Pirates uniform, 1960s
Artifact Detailsview larger

Clemente wore this batting helmet during his career with the Pirates. Before 1951, at least six major and minor league batters were killed by fastballs and many others injured. In 1952, the fiberglass batting helmet was introduced in the majors, with both leagues mandating its use by 1956.

— Gift of Sports Illustrated

Roberto Clemente
Baseball Great and Humanitarian

Roberto Clemente was the first Latin American superstar in Major League Baseball. He was a legend in life and death, a baseball star, and a symbol of Latin American pride.

The first Puerto Rican to achieve baseball stardom, Clemente worked hard at the game. In his 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, "The Great One" proved to be an all-around outstanding player, winning four National League batting titles and leading National League outfielders in assists in four seasons. He was awarded 12 Gold Gloves and was selected as the 1966 National League MVP and the 1971 World Series MVP. Clemente was the 11th Major League player to record 3,000 hits.

Clemente's accomplishments raised him to stardom, yet he never forgot his heritage and the prejudice he had faced. He fought for the recognition of his fellow Latino ballplayers, helped people in need across the United States and Central America, and held free baseball clinics for children in his homeland. While delivering supplies for victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake, Clemente died when his plane crashed off the coast of Puerto Rico. After his death, Roberto Clemente was both mourned and celebrated in Puerto Rico and the United States.

Name: Roberto Clemente Walker
Born: Carolina, Puerto Rico, 1934–1972
  • First Latin American inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame, 1973
  • 3,000 career hits
  • World Series champion, 1960, 1971
  • World Series MVP, 1971
  • National League MVP, 1966
  • 12 Gold Glove awards, 1961– 1972
  • Activist for racial equality and players' rights in baseball

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National Museum of American History   Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service