LOS ANGELES, CA — We sometimes hear things being the “Gold Standard” for various things. In baseball, the only thing with the word Gold attached to it is the ‘Gold Glove.’ The first time this award, for the best defenders at each position in each league, was in 1957. The Gold Glove Award is among Roberto Clemente’s many feats in baseball. He was known for his modesty and humility, often shunning the spotlight despite his immense talent. One touching anecdote is when he once refused to wear a crown as part of a promotion, saying, “I am not a king.”
The fact that he won 12 Gold Gloves in his career speaks volumes of his abilities as one of the greatest right-fielders in the history of baseball. Those twelve awards came consecutively from age 25 to 37 for “la grandeza de Roberto Clemente.” There are only three position players who have more Gold Gloves, and he has the most of any outfielder to date.
Watching him command right field at the Major League level was not only exciting but also a thing of beauty. With the grace of an accomplished ballet performer on stage, he made everything look easy. But then that arm! He would extend his arm fully and then unleash what looked like a guided missile to third base or home plate. It would travel in a straight line and sometimes never touch the ground. So many times, runners would hold up at third when advancing from second on a single.
We will never know how many more “Gold Gloves” he would have won if he wasn’t taken from us at thirty-seven years old. He batted .317 in his final season with a .479 slugging percentage and showed no signs of slowing down with his play in the outfield.
As a sports columnist, I can find many things to write about this incredible human being. He was unique and a gift from heaven who put a smile on the faces of all who saw what he did on the field and in the world. Baseball opponents feared his Gold Glove play in right field and respected that arm. But more than that, they all respected him as a wonderful human being.
We invite any of our readers to feel free to comment or contribute anything on Roberto Clemente that you would like to share.
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