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A Roberto Clemente Timeline

Roberto Clemente as a Pittsburgh Pirate rookie in 1955.
Roberto Clemente as a Pittsburgh Pirate rookie in 1955.
Roberto Clemente in 1970, toward the end of his Pirate career. Still ahead was his great performance in the 1971 World Series.
/ Hulton Archives/Getty Images
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Roberto Clemente in 1970, toward the end of his Pirate career. Still ahead was his great performance in the 1971 World Series.

Highlights of Roberto Clemente's life and baseball career:

August 18, 1934: Roberto Clemente y Walker is born in Carolina, Puerto Rico. Walker is his mother's last name. His Hall of Fame plaque will read Roberto Clemente Walker.

October 9, 1952: Clemente signs with the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican winter league for $5,000.

1953: The Brooklyn Dodgers, who broke baseball's color barrier with Jackie Robinson, sign Clemente for $10,000.

November 22, 1954: After a year with the Dodgers' minor-league affiliate in Montreal, where Robinson also played, the Pittsburgh Pirates choose Clemente in the first round of the minor league draft.

April 17, 1955: Clemente makes his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1960: The Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series. Clemente feels slighted after finishing 8th in the National League Most Valuable Player voting.

1961: Clemente records 27 outfield assists and wins the first of 12 consecutive Gold Gloves for his defensive play in right field. Clemente also leads the National League in batting, finishing the season with a .351 average.

1964: Clemente wins a second NL batting title with a .339 average.

November 14, 1964: Clemente marries Vera Cristina Zabala in San Juan, Puerto Rico. They will go on to have three children: Roberto Jr., Luis Roberto and Enrique Roberto.

1965: Clemente wins his third NL batting title with a .329 average.

1966: In what is widely considered his best season, Clemente wins the National League Most Valuable Player award. He hits .317 with 29 home runs and 119 runs batted in.

1967: Clemente wins his fourth (and final) NL batting title with a .357 average.

October 17, 1971: The Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series against heavy favorites, the Baltimore Orioles. Clemente hits safely in all seven games, including a pivotal home run in Game 7. He is named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

September 30, 1972: Clemente doubles against the New York Mets in his last game of the season, marking career hit 3,000. He is the first Latin player and just the 11th in baseball history (at that time) to reach the milestone. He dedicates the hit to "the Pittsburgh fans and to the people in Puerto Rico."

December 23, 1972: A devastating earthquake hits Managua, Nicaragua. Clemente decides to gather relief supplies and help deliver them to quake survivors.

December 31, 1972: The plane Clemente charters for his humanitarian mission crashes into the ocean shortly after takeoff, killing the baseball star and four crew members.

March 20, 1973: In an unprecedented move, The Baseball Hall of Fame unanimously waives the customary five-year period for induction, allowing the Baseball Writers Association of America to hold a special election on Clemente's behalf.

August 6, 1973: Clemente is inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame. He is the first Latin-born player so honored.

-- Compiled by Ben Brudevold-Newman

Sources: Baseball Hall of Fame, Smithsonian Insititution.

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