A Roberto Clemente jersey is an essential part of any true Pittsburgh Pirates superfan jersey collection. Roberto Clemente, the legendary Puerto Rican right fielder, played for the Pirates for 18 seasons before his untimely passing. Winner of the Golden Glove award for 12 consecutive seasons, there was little question as to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. Leading his Pirates to two World Series victories over a decade apart, a Roberto Clemente jersey, and its retired number 21, are icons in Pittsburgh lore.
Clemente first donned a Pirates jersey in 1955 in a game against Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Early in his career Clemente would experience and overcome the racial tension experienced by people of color in the league, and on top of the color of his skin, Roberto experienced discrimination because of his Puerto Rican heritage. At first, he didn’t know very much English, making life in Pittsburgh difficult. Commentators, baseball cards, and other players called him “Bob” or “Bobby” despite his preference to go by his given name of Roberto. His skills on the field needed no translation however, as it would soon become apparent that Roberto Clemente was one of the greats.
Throughout the 60’s Roberto would dominate the league, beginning with a .353 batting average, and maintaining an average over .300 every year except 1968. Fittingly, he was selected to the All-Star team every season except 1968. His dominance would continue in the early 70’s, when he led the Pirates to a World Series championship with a .414 batting average and excellent defensive play. He was awarded the 1971 World Series MVP award for his efforts. His final season was 1972, where he would win his 12th consecutive Golden Glove award. A Roberto Clemente Jersey would never be worn on the field again, as the Pirates soon retired the number 21 following his passing.
When Clemente was out of his jersey, he was dedicated to charity. When Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1972, Clemente was quick to arrange air drops of emergency supplies. He would learn however, that the supplies were being taken by corrupt government officials, never making it to the victims of the earthquake. He took it upon himself to deliver the relief supplies personally, hoping to use his fame to persuade the officials to deliver the goods where they were needed most. On December 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to the earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38 years old.
A Roberto Clemente jersey celebrates the life and accomplishments of one of baseball’s greatest players. Both on and off the field Clemente experienced and overcame discrimination to still have one of the most prolific careers in the sport. Few players can claim such accomplishments. Whether you’re looking to proudly wear your Clemente Jersey to the next home game, or mount it on the wall of your baseball-watching room, make sure your number 21 is made with care. Custom Throwback Jerseys are durable and made to last a lifetime. Order yours today!