I loved watching Roberto Clemente throw from right field to third base. I saw a lot of Pirate games in those days and if there was a man on first, I was hoping someone would hit it a single to right field, so Roberto would throw it to third. He probably made those throws all to way to third when it wasn’t needed, but it was a thing of beauty.
I was only 13 when Clemente died in a plane crash trying to help earthquake victims. Sadly, one of my first thought was that I was glad he got his 3,000 hit and didn’t get stuck on 2,999. Not that it matter besides for the records, Clemente was an easy hall of famer either way.
Clemente won the MVP in 1966 and the two players who finished behind him in the voting (Willie Mays and Sandy Koufax) had a higher WAR. By WAR Clemente had a better season in 1967 and the two players who finished in front of him (Orlando Cepeda and Tim McCarver had a lower WAR than he did.
Clemente was known as a hero to a lot of kids my age after his passing. A lot of kids in a Minnesota Twins area had him as their favorite player of all time. Clemente didn’t just do humanitarian work just before he died, but his whole career. For his native Puerto Rico and Latin Countries nearby. That is why there is a Roberto Clemente award to honor the player who is the most chartable in baseball. There has been talk of retiring Clemente’s number throughout baseball. I think it would be a good idea.