Roberto Clemente was a native of Puerto Rico and considered one of  baseball's greatest players of his era. During his 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates (April 17 1955 - October 3, 1972) had a batting average of .317, 3,000 hits, 240 home runs, and 1,305 runs batted in. He won 12 Gold Glove Awards, earned four National League Batting Championships and helped the Pirates to capture the World Series titles in 1960 and 1971. In 1966, he was named the National League Most Valuable Player and in 1971, he received the World Series MVP and the Babe Ruth Award. On December 31, 1972, he was killed in an air plane crash off San Juan, Puerto Rico, en route to deliver supplies to victims in earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua.

 

May 4, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon formally approved P.L. 93–33 (87 Stat. 71), the Roberto Walker Clemente Congressional Gold Medal for his "Outstanding Athletic, Civic, Charitable and Humanitarian contributions."

In 1973 the Pittsburgh Pirates retired the number 21.

The Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted on by baseball fans and members of the media.

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He was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 without the traditional five year waiting period after a player's career ends.

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