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

Major League Baseball will send Roberto Clemente's old team to Roberto ... (blog), November 22nd

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins will meet in a two-game series in San Juan, Puerto Rico as part of the festivities celebrating the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Thursday at the ...Read more

Light Up Night crowds prompt Pittsburgh police to close Roberto Clemente Bridge
Tribune-Review, November 20th

Pittsburgh police shut down the Roberto Clemente Bridge about 9 p.m. Friday because crowds attending Light Up Night festivities grew dangerously large. Authorities said so many people crammed the bridge linking Downtown and the North Shore that it ...Read more

Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates To Play Series In San Juan To Honor Roberto ..., November 20th

The Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that the Miami Marlins will play the Pittsburgh Pirates at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 30 and 31 of 2016 to honor Roberto Clemente. Clemente was a Pirates legend, as he played ...Read more

Weekend work planned on Parkway East, Parkway West
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 20th

The Roberto Clemente Bridge and the Andy Warhol Bridge are closed today through midnight for Light-Up Night festivities in Downtown Pittsburgh. The Rachel Carson Bridge will be closed from 9:15 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Check here for a full list of Downtown ...Read more

Roberto Clemente statue unveiled in South End
The Boston Globe, November 19th

Roberto Clemente was killed in a 1972 plane crash while traveling to Nicaragua to aid in earthquake relief. In 1973, just months after his death, Clemente was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Clemente is considered one of the best Puerto Rican...Read more

21 facts about Roberto Clemente as Disney hosts Latin Baseball Festival
Orlando Sentinel, November 19th

Two teams from the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico — Indios de Mayaguez and Cangrejoros de Santurce — will meet in a three-game series at Champion Stadium at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports. It will be the first time that the Puerto Rican ...Read more

Mitchell Allows 3 Runs, Culver Hitless In Roberto Clemente League Opener
Pinstriped Prospects, October 31st

Last night the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League had their opening day and three New York Yankees are currently listed on the rosters of some of the teams. Two of them, Bryan Mitchell and Cito Culver played last night. Culver, 23, was a...Read more

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen wins Roberto Clemente Award
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 30th

The Commissioner's Award, given annually to the player who best represented the game of baseball on and off the field, was renamed in 1973 to honor Clemente. On Friday, McCutchen was named the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award winner in a ceremony at ...Read more