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Oakland: Roberto Clemente


Roberto Walker Clemente,
Voted into baseball's Hall of Fame
20 March 1973.(6)
BORN: 18 August 1934.
DIED: 31 December 1972.

  • He is rightfully Pittsburgh's pride and joy. The fans laugh at his antics, ooh-and-ah at his spectacular plays, roar in anticipation of his performance, and in general love the man. In my recollection there has never been any concerted booing of Clemente at Forbes Field, a remarkable tribute from fans not always noted for their generosity toward their heroes. Long ago they began delighting in this finely-honed, slightly structured man whose strength and skill are evident in the results rather in his appearance. And they have never stopped. (7)

  • That play Clemente made in the eighth inning is why he is the greatest player in the game today. Next week in the championship playoffs and the following week in the World Series, every player will make that play. They'll be diving for balls. But Roberto Clemente is the only player in the game today who will make that play in a meaningless game the last week of the season. That's why he's the greatest player in the game today. (8)

  • And nobody quite combines a running catch, a whirl and a throw the way Clemente does--so that he is occasionally photographed suspended sideways in the air, about four feet above the ground, releasing a lightning bolt. (9)

  • Known as a bad ball hitter, he almost never goes after the first pitch because he doesn't want to end his time at bat too soon. His hitting philosophy is to go after any pitch anywhere that looks sweet and challenging at the moment. (10)

  • In an interview conducted shortly after the 1972 season ended, Clemente said, "I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball." (11)


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