Remembering Roberto Clemente, who would've been 81 years old today
Before Juan Marichal. Before Vladimir Guerrero. Before Mariano Rivera, there was Roberto Clemente.
Drafted in 1954 by the Pirates, the five-tool right fielder became one of MLB's first Latin American superstars. He could hit for power (in the World Series, no less), he could field, he could run and yes, he could throw just a little bit:
At the end of his storied 18-year career, Clemente had compiled a .317/.359/.475 slash line, 3,000 hits, 12 All-Star selections, 12 Gold Gloves, an MVP Award and two World Series titles. But as great as he was on the field, the Hall of Famer may have been even greater off it. Clemente donated baseball equipment, food and other supplies to numerous locales throughout his life -- including his homeland of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, his career was cut short by a plane crash during an earthquake relief trip to Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. His last game would end up being the one in which he recorded his 3,000th hit:
And today, we celebrate Roberto Clemente's birthday. He would've been 81 years old and baseball (and the world) is grateful to have had him.