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Roberto Clemente


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I just ordered this jersey from Mitchell & Ness. I've long been a fan of Clemente's. Not only was he a Hall of Fame-caliber player, but he was enormously charismatic and a true humanitarian.

New Year's Eve marks the 32d anniversary of Clemente's death. Many of you know that he died airlifting relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He had arranged and was a passenger on a flight from his native Puerto Rico. The heavily laden plane crashed shortly after takeoff. Clemente's body was never found.

The jersey pictured above is from 1971. It's one of the most beautiful jerseys I've seen. I think the trim is a little more "old gold" than it appears in this image -- at least as the image appears on my monitor. Clemente won his 11th Gold Glove and his second World Series ring in this jersey. I believe it is the same as the jersey he wore in 1972, when he collected his 3000th and final regular season hit. I would appreciate if someone could confirm whether there are any differences between the Pirates' 1971 and 1972 home jerseys.

Here are links to a bio of Clemente on ESPN, his Hall of Fame bio, and an article from Tuesday's New York Times.

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I thought of Roberto Clemente when I was watching coverage of the tsunami, and how his accident happened around this time of year delivering aid to an earthquake-striken poor nation. I idolized Clemente as much as someone born 13 years after his death could when I was a kid, and I idolize him to this day.

About the jersey itself, the Pirates' gold looks a lot more gold than I've seen in pictures. I'm used to seeing the Yellower gold.

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My most prized possesion is a Roberto Clemente Card from 1972. I bought it at a garage sale for a nickle. It's in horrible shape, as it was when I got it, but from that card I learned so much about all the good he did. I wore 21 in baseball for him if they didn't have 42.

He's already an all time great and his career was cut far too short. Imagine what he could have done on the field and off the field had his life continued into 1973.

That jersey is very sharp! I love the old gold look instead of the typical pirates gold.

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