Clemente’s legacy transcends mere sport
His 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a stellar right fielder and magnificent hitter, along with his pronounced love for mankind, made him a most genuinely graceful player and man, one who is nearly impossible to forget. As a result, he paved his route to Cooperstown, earning posthumous induction on Aug. 6, 1973, and thus becoming Latin America’s first Hall of Fame inductee.
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On a personal basis, Roberto Clemente lives in my mind to this day. His legacy reflects the goodness of his life, and his joys and sorrows as well. I still see a vision of him today, through a long corridor, where I see him standing with his trademark dignity and that stylish defiance with which he always carried himself.
I have always looked up to him as a kind of older brother, as a mentor and as a dear friend. He made me a better person in so many ways, and continues to do so, even all these years after his untimely death.
Luis Mayoral is a longtime baseball executive and journalist who has worked in the game for five decades. A close friend and confidante of Roberto Clemente, Luis was the first person hired by a major league team to serve as a liaison for Latin American ballplayers, helping them to adapt to American culture and custom.