It’s a shame that more video of Pirates legend Roberto Clemente isn’t readily available. As a kid, I was fortunate enough to see Clemente play on several occasions. He was a sight to behold.
I feel absolutely certain of three things about Clemente:
*He was the best defensive right fielder ever.
*He had the best arm in the history of baseball.
*He had no peer as a clutch hitter.
Clemente could go and get it like no other, then unload it like his arm = artillery. He threw strikes to home. He threw strikes to third. He almost never made a bad throw.
Clemente’s arm wasn’t respected. It was feared. It got to the point where baserunners almost never tested it.
Clemente played in 14 World Series games and hit safely in all of them. He hit .362 over the course of two World Series, helping the Pirates win both. He hit .414 with two home runs, four RBI and three runs scored in the 1971 series, earning MVP honors.
Clemente was all class. He never embarrassed baseball, the Pirates, or himself. He had nobility that is impossible to find in today’s athlete. (Mario Lemieux has it, too.)
Clemente would have been 86 yesterday. There won’t be another. They broke the mold.
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