Is it Roberto or Phil? That’s the million-dollar question when it comes to Clemente autographs, one of the most unique-looking autographs you will ever see. Roberto was diligent about signing throughout the 1950s until about 1960. From that point right into the early 1970s, Clemente’s good friend Phil Dorsey started signing a portion of autograph requests, with Roberto’s blessing. Phil’s signature was so good that it went undetected in the hobby for many years. As a result, while they were non-malicious in nature, the market was infiltrated by forged Clemente autographs. With Roberto Clemente passing away in 1972, the authentic Clemente autographs today are in very high demand, especially on signed trading cards.
Roberto Clemente died in 1972 at the age of 38.
Roberto Clemente Walker (August 18, 1934 - December 31, 1972) is widely considered the greatest Latin player to ever put on a Major League Baseball uniform with a .317 career batting average, a .973 fielding percentage and a record 254 career assists for a right fielder. In his native Puerto Rico, Clemente played for the Santurce Cangrejeros ("Crabbers") before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. While coming off the bench for the Montreal Royals, Brooklyn’s minor league affiliate, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Roberto in the 1954 Rule 5 Draft offering him the opportunity to play everyday and win the right field position at the 1955 spring training. Clemente never played a minor league game again as he easily won the right field job and batted .255 with 121 hits and 47 RBI as a rookie. Though he hit .311 in 1956, Roberto’s break out year came in 1960 when he earned his first of 15 All-Star Game selections after batting .314 with 16 home runs and 94 RBI. He helped lead the Pirates to their first World Series title that year as they captured MLB’s top prize in dramatic fashion with Bill Mazeroski’s Game 7 walk-off series clinching home run. Clemente hit .310 with three RBI in the 1960 World Series. In 1961, Roberto hit 23 home run and hit .351 to lead the National League for the first of four times during the 1960s.
He was a perennial vote-getter for National League MVP and in 1966, after leading the league in batting average the previous two seasons, won the award with a .317 average, 31 home runs and 119 RBI while also posting 17 outfield assists. The 12-time Rawlings Gold Glove recipient played his entire career with Pittsburgh (1955-1972) and helped lead them to a second World Series title in 1971. Roberto Clemente collected 3,000 hits, hit 240 home runs, had 1.305 RBI and batted .317 over 18-year seasons with the Buccos. 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. 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.
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