With the World Series ending tonight and the death of Oscar Taveras still on our minds, Big Think remembers another fantastic ballplayer taken away much too soon.
More than just a beloved baseball player, Roberto Clemente (1934-1972) was a man dedicated to charitable acts. He died tragically at the age of 38 when a plane he chartered to deliver aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua crashed off the coast of his native Puerto Rico. The Roberto Clemente Award is now given annually by Major League Baseball to the player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team."
On the baseball diamond, the Pittsburgh Pirates legend was a 15-time All-Star and the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1966. He won two World series titles in Pittsburgh (1960, 1971) and is generally regarded as one of the greatest Latin American ballplayers in history. Clemente was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, as well as awarded a number of national honors including the Congressional Gold Medal.
When Clemente, broadcaster Vin Scully once said, "Clemente could field the ball in New York and throw out a guy in Pennsylvania. He was a great player and deserved a longer life."
"Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."
-Roberto Clemente, source:"He just can't kick the baseball habit" by Peter Leo, in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (11 July 2006) (h/t Wikiquote)