Despite not having comparable statistics to some of his contemporary outfielders, Roberto Clemente is still widely considered one of the most popular and talented baseball players ever. Clemente is also a great lesson for collectors. Sometimes it is not the best players who are widely collected, but the ones who are most beloved. Roberto Clemente was a fan favorite, and consequently his memorabilia is some of the most collected in all of baseball.

Had Clemente lived longer, he may have gone down as one of the most accomplished players ever, statistics and all. Instead, his life and baseball career were tragically cut short when a plane he chartered on New Years Eve 1972 to bring earthquake aid to Nicaragua crashed right after takeoff. This selfless act of charity typified Roberto Clemente.

A native of Puerto Rico, Clemente helped usher in a new era of Latin American stars in baseball. Many of today’s brightest baseball stars owe a debt of gratitude to Clemente for paving the way for them.

Clemente debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1955—he played for the team his entire career. There is only one recognized rookie card for Clemente, a 1955 Topps, which is in a set that also included rookie cards for fellow Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Harmon Killebrew.

The Clemente card, which shows him in two poses against a green background—a headshot, plus Clemente at bat—is considered more difficult to find in good condition than the Koufax or Killebrew cards. The biggest problem for the card was poor centering, which tends to be accentuated by the green background.

Early in his career Clemente was by no means a star. He struggled to hit for power, though his defense—which led him to 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards to end his career—was outstanding. In addition to being fast and athletic in the outfield, Clemente had an absolute missile of an arm, which scared the daylights out of base runners—few tested him.

Though Clemente would have other popular and valuable cards after his rookie year, such as his 1963 Topps card, it was not until 1968, when he was a full-fledged star, that anoth...

That card, which shows a stoically suave Clemente gazing to the left of the camera, is unequivocally the card that gives Clemente collectors the biggest fits. Not only is it rare, it also has many flaws, which is not surprising since the set was not released publicly. The plastic coating on the card is prone to cracking, and the print on the backside of the card is often out of focus, to name a few of the card’s numerous problems.

By 1968 Clemente had already won four batting titles, an MVP award, and a World Series. Three years later, in 1971, he would win his second world title.

The following year, 1972, Clemente was plagued by injuries. He only managed to play in 102 games, but in his very last regular season at-bat he hit a double for his 3,000th career hit. No one knew it at the time, but Clemente would never step to the plate in a regular season game again.

Clemente’s death shocked the baseball world—in his usual selfless manner, he had felt compelled to accompany relief rations to Nicaragua himself. But his premature death also makes his collectibles even more sought after because his signature, for example, is very scarce. In fact, finding a Clemente autograph today is difficult. Many of his autographs are simply “cuts” (autographs on pieces of paper).

In 1973, the Baseball Hall of Fame decided to waive its five-year waiting period for entry for the deceased Clemente, an honor that only had been bestowed once previously, for a dying Lou Gehrig. Hall of Fame busts are among the most popular Clemente collectibles, as are commemorative coins, statues, new and game-used jerseys, and newspaper clippings from around the time of his death.

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Recent News: Roberto Clemente Memorabilia

Source: Google News

Walter, Giglio in shouting match over unauthorized EPCAL bike path material ...
RiverheadLOCAL, February 26th

“The lack of judgment is just amazing,” Walter said, “when you consider all that's gone on at Roberto Clemente Park in Islip. It's just astounding that we could be put in this position.” The town park in Brentwood, Town of Islip was discovered last...Read more

The Yankees need to reissue Paul O`Neill's no. 21
Pinstripe Alley, February 26th

It's also incredibly difficult to keep it out of circulation when someone like Roberto Clemente also wore the number, which is why Hawkins wanted to wear it in the first place. As I've already written before, the Yankees have enough retired numbers as...Read more

Pirates Open to Extending Andrew McCutchen... Duh!
Call to the Pen, February 26th

Not since the legendary Roberto Clemente played ball for the Pirates have they had as special a player as Andrew McCutchen is suit up for them. Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski's career WAR of 36.2 could be surpassed by McCutchen in 2015, whose present ...Read more

This Is What It Means To Be Afro-Latino
Huffington Post, February 25th

Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates slides back into first base while playing the Baltimore Orioles at the 1971 World Series October. "Being Afro Latino is being a bridgebuilder, standing squarely at the crossroads of pan Africanism in the US. I...Read more

New testing at Roberto Clemente Park
Newsday, February 15th

The Town of Islip will undertake a third round of groundwater monitoring at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood after the latest test results show elevated levels of several metals, a pesticide and other potentially hazardous materials. (Credit: Newsday ...Read more

Islip to do more groundwater monitoring at Clemente Park
Newsday, February 15th

The Town of Islip will undertake a third round of groundwater monitoring at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood after the latest test results show elevated levels of several metals, a pesticide and other potentially hazardous materials. (Credit: Newsday ...Read more

Roberto Clemente's everlasting gift to Pittsburgh
SportsBlog.com (blog), February 13th

As most baseball fans know, especially those of the western Pennsylvania area, Roberto Clemente is one the greatest baseball players to dawn a Pirates uniform, perhaps one of the all-time greats in the game's history. He was Puerto Rican who came to ...Read more

Saint Roberto Clemente?: Former Pittsburgh pastor seeks sainthood for the ...
Pittsburgh Post Gazette, January 10th

Richard Rossi thinks a case can be made on behalf of the Pirates' late right fielder, Roberto Clemente. Mr. Rossi, who directed and played a scout in the recent movie “Baseball's Last Hero: 21 Clemente Stories,” is seeking to document miracles in his...Read more