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

DPS School of The Week: Roberto Clemente Academy
Michronicleonline, March 4th

The freezing winter air and a chest cold did not stop Principal Melissa Villarreal from standing at her post, holding open the front door of Roberto Clemente Academy on a recent morning, greeting every student and parent who walked past her. She...Read more

CONDRO: Minoso left his mark
Yale Daily News (blog), March 3rd

Every Latino player who has followed Minoso into the Bigs since 1949, from Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente to White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, owes their chance to the struggle that Minoso went through decades ago. As the generation that helped to ...Read more

High school boys basketball: Johnsburg falls to St. Pat's
Northwest Herald, March 3rd

The Shamrocks advance to Friday's final, where they will play the winner of the Wednesday's semifinal between Wauconda and Roberto Clemente. Johnsburg (11-20) wasn't overly familiar with St. Pat's but knew they had a reputation for being a really good ...Read more

Peek's Chapel Elementary celebrates Read Across America Day
Rockdale Citizen, March 3rd

Orin Hoyte as Ninja Turtle Donatello, and Genesis Jones as Stitch. On the front row are, from left, Lea Rogers as Elsa, Elijah Drummond as Ninja Turtle Rafael, Keira Atkins as Rapunzel and Kendall Turner as Roberto Clemente. (Staff Photo: Ryan...Read more

Doctor tries to put patients at ease with sports memorabilia
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 2nd

Another patient gave Meier an autograph book dating back to 1956; it contains Roberto Clemente's signing. "Roberto Clemente frequently signed his autographs with, "best wishes,'" Meier said. Another patient bequeathed a beautiful collection of numerous ...Read more

A Look Back: Roberto Clemente
SportsBlog.com (blog), February 28th

This week's edition of “A Look Back” will be featuring one of the greatest Pittsburgh Pirates to ever play in the black and gold, Roberto Clemente. Clemente was born in San Anton, Carolina, Puerto Rico, and was the youngest of 7 children. He was signed...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

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