Roberto Clemente was a do-it-all kind of player.Today would have been the 78th birthday for baseball legend Roberto Clemente and this also marks the 40th anniversary of his final major league season.
You may have seen a few features on ESPN’s baseball coverage related to Clemente this week, and with that in mind, we thought we’d offer a brief statistical reminiscence of Clemente’s career.
Clemente had 3,000 career hits, all with the Pirates with the first one coming in 1955 and the last one coming in 1972. That’s the second-most hits of anyone in that span, trailing only Hank Aaron’s 3,260. Clemente’s 166 triples were 48 more than the player with the next-most (Willie Mays).
Most Career Hits
Born in Puerto Rico
Clemente’s 1,877 hits were the most of any player during the decade of the 1960s.
He still has the most hits and highest batting average for players born in Puerto Rico 40 years after the end of his major league career.
Clemente was known for having an amazing throwing arm. He had 266 outfield assists. Among players who debuted in the major leagues since the end of World War II in 1945, that’s by fare the most outfield assists.
Clemente and Mays share the record for the most Gold Glove Awards by outfielders with 12 each.
Clemente’s Pirates won both World Series in which he played, with the wins in 1960 and 1971 each coming in seven-game series’.
Career in World Series
Clemente had at least one hit in 22 of the 26 postseason games in which he played. He has the most games played (14) of anyone who had a World Series hit in every game in which he played.
His hits were important ones too. In Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, his eighth-inning infield single cut the Yankees lead to a run, just prior to a go-ahead home run by Hal Smith.
In Game 7 of the 1971 World Series, he opened the scoring of an eventual 2-1 Pirates win with a home run against Baltimore Orioles starter Mike Cuellar.
Clemente ranks in the top 20 in Wins Above Replacement since the end of World War II, ahead of all-time greats Pete Rose, Reggie Jackson, and Johnny Bench amongst others.
His 89.8 Wins Above Replacement ranks 14th in major-league history among those who played at least half of their games in the outfield, better than Joe DiMaggio, Tony Gwynn, and Dave Winfield.
That WAR total ranks second in the history of the Pirates franchise, trailing only Honus Wagner.