Roberto Clemente: «If I were the President of the United States»

Roberto Clemente was such an extraordinary human being that his legacy transcends statistics.  Beyond his achievements on the ground, his impact on the community and his commitment to humanitarian aid make him an iconic figure in sports history and a role model.

This passage offers a glimpse into Roberto Clemente’s personality and a specific event from his life, as described in David Maraniss’s book «Clemente, the Passion and Charisma of Baseball’s Last Hero.» In 1971, Clemente was named the World Series MVP, and the award ceremony took place at Mama Leone restaurant in New York City.  Excitement and anticipation filled the atmosphere.  Notably, the passage mentions that a particular gift awaited Clemente at the event, which was a classic 1971 Dodge Charger (photo).

In his acceptance message, Roberto said several exciting things, but I was struck by the following: «It is not enough to go to a summer camp and have one or two instructors for a while and then go home and forget about everyone.  You visit a sports town with people like Mays, Mantle, and Williams, and the kids will never forget it.  I feel like the United States should do something like this everywhere.» 

This is when Clemente hits the ball out of the park: «If I were the President of the United States, I would build a sports city and take in kids of all ways of life.  What we want to do is exchange kids with every city in the United States and show all the kids how to live and play with other kids.  I been going out to different towns, different neighborhoods.  I get kids together and talk about the importance of sports, the importance of being a good citizen, the importance of respecting their mother and father.  I like to get together with the fathers and sons and talk to them.  Then we go to the ball field, and I show them some techniques of playing baseball.» [1]

Roberto believed in promoting sports as a tool to instill values and build a sense of community among the children of the United States.

That is why when we talk about Roberto Clemente, we are not only talking about a great baseball player but about an exceptional human being who left a deep mark on sports and in the fight for a more just and supportive world.


[1] Maraniss, David. Clemente, The Passion and Grace of Baeball´s Last Hero by David Maraniss. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006 (page 267).

1 comentario en “Roberto Clemente: «If I were the President of the United States»”

  1. NO TENGO TU TALENTO PARA ESCRIBIR HERMANO, PERO ROBERTO ERA GRANDE EN TODO. NO PUEDO ENFATIZARLO MAS. CONOCI TAMBIEN A PREDECESORES PUERTORRIQUEÑOS COMO PANCHO COIMBRE, PLANCHARDON QUIÑONES, HIRAM BITHORN, GACHO TORRES, LUIS RODRIGUEZ OLMO, JOSE A. FIGUEROA, PACHY IRIZARRY Y MUCHOS MAS. MENCIONO ALGUNOS DE ELLOS PUES LLEVARON MUY EN ALTO A PUERTO RICO DONDE QUIERA NOS REPRESENTARON.

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