Essay on The Latino Model: Roberto Clemente

Essay on The Latino Model: Roberto Clemente

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During the mid-1950’s, Major League Baseball was in the middle of an influential movement. Jackie Robinson had broken baseball’s “color barrier” in 1947, which helped lead the participation of other minorities, especially the Latinos. Just as the blacks were faced with adversity, the Latino players experienced the same hardships. The teams integrated slowly and sportswriters often scorned the players having difficulty developing English as a second language (Regalado 2008). Roberto Clemente joined this complicated era of baseball when race was a highly disputed topic. However, his reputation was backed with a stellar baseball career, which set the foundation for the involvement of many other future Latino players. With Clemente’s background it should not have came as a surprise that he was fully capable of handling the discrimination in the major leagues and excelled to the point of becoming one of baseball’s greatest hero and role model.
Roberto Clemente was born in Puerto Rico in 1934. Puerto Rico was typically a place where players came to play during the winter months, and because Puerto Rico didn’t have the same segregation laws as the United States, Clemente grew up playing baseball without race being a major issue (Regalado 2008). He left Puerto Rico in 1953 however to pursuit of playing in the major leagues. Being informed by the players who visited Puerto Rico, Clemente knew discrimination was an issue in the United States. He spent one year as a minor leaguer in Montreal and soon made his major league debut in 1955 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In his eighteen years in a Pirates’ uniform, he won the Most Valuable Player award in 1966, four batting titles and appeared in 14 All-Star games. His twelve consecutive Gold Glo...


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...han one of the greatest players of his generation and Latino history. While his statistics and on-field accomplishments earned him election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, equally amazing was his sense of professionalism and pride in his career, his self-respecting view of his ethnicity, and his humanitarian efforts. Not only that, but it is also the motivation that he continues to instill into the younger generations that continues the great tradition of Latino baseball; and for that, Clemente is the perfect model of an athlete.



Works Cited

Maraniss, D. (2006). Clemente: the Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Markusen, B. (1998). Roberto Clemente, The Great One. Champaign, IL: Sports Pub.

Regalado, S. (2008). Roberto Clemente: Images, identity, and legacy. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 25, 678-690

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