Born in 1934, Roberto Clemente signed with the Signature Crabbers of the Puerto Rican winter league for $5,000 when he was 18, and a year later, Clemente joined the Brooklyn Dodgers for $10,000. In 1954, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Clemente during the first round of the minor league draft.Continue Reading
Clemente made his debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955, and the team won the World Series in 1960. By 1961, Clemente won the first 12 consecutive Golden Gloves for his defensive talent in right field. He racked up 27 outfield assists and finished the season with a .351 average, leading the National League in batting.
Clemente captured a second National League batting title in 1964, finishing the season with a .339 average. Later the same year, Clemente married for the first and only time, wedding Vera Cristina Zabala in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The couple eventually had three children.
In 1965, Clemente won the National League batting title yet again, boasting a .329 average by season's end. The following year, during what many baseball historians consider his finest season, Clemente won the National League Most Valuable Player award.
The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series again in 1971. Clemente hit a crucial home run in game seven, and the league named him World Series Most Valuable Player. Clemente completed his 3,000th career hit in 1972 in a double against the Mets. He was the first Latin player to achieve this career-hit milestone.Learn more about Athletes