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Roberto Clemente, who perished in a plane crash in 1972 while en route to Nicaragua, possessed one of the most desirable signatures in baseball. Obviously, his autograph is scarce for the above-mentioned reason but it is also tough as a result of something else.
During the final five or six seasons of his career (1967-1972), Clemente's assistant and valet (Phil Dorsey) signed a large amount of his fan mail. What is found in the marketplace today is Dorsey's signature, though once thought to be Clemente's. Discerning the difference between the two signatures can be quite difficult. In the 1950s, Clemente featured a long flowing signature on one plane, "Roberto Clemente." By 1960, Clemente started to stack his signature with his first name above his last. Clemente's signature is most commonly found on team baseballs, scorecards and 3x5s. Single-signed baseballs are found, but at a hefty price. His personal checks, most originating from the 1970s, can be found but, they too, come at a premium price.
Roberto Clemente Walker (1934-1972) is widely considered the greatest Latin player to ever put on a Major League Baseball uniform. Clemente played his entire career with the Pittsburgh Pirates collecting exactly 3,000 hits, hit 240 home runs, had 1.305 RBI and batted .317 over 18-year seasons. Above and beyond his numbers at the plate, Bob possessed a powerful and precise arm that helped him achieve a .973 fielding percentage with 4,696 putouts. Roberto was selected to 15 All-Star games, twice was a World Series champion (1960, 1971) was a 12-time Gold Glove Award winner and was the 1966 National League’s Most Valuable Player. Clemente was heavily involved in humanitarian efforts in the third world Latin American countries and was killed on December 31, 1972 assisting in delivering aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake devastated the small country. Major League Baseball presents The Roberto Clemente Award to the player that best exemplifies Clemente’s humanitarian efforts. Roberto Clemente Walker was posthumously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.