Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente < back   next >
Images: (from top to bottom) Roberto and Vera at their wedding; a group of female fans; Roberto relaxing with a game of billiards; Roberto posing with the "Giant of Carolina," Rafael Birriel.


His Story

Home: Family and Country

Roberto Clemente lived in two worlds. One was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Pirates, the major leagues, awards, fans, and media. The other was Carolina, Puerto Rico, Caribbean baseball, home, family, leisure, and personal dreams.

Image: Clemente in Pirates uniform with his family.

His first great sense of accomplishment was being able to give his parents a house in the El Comandante development in Carolina. It was back in Carolina, after nearly ten years and a World Series Championship with the Pirates, that Clemente met the hometown girl who became his wife. When Roberto and Vera Zabala were married, the governor of Puerto Rico was a guest of honor. When it came time for the births of each of the three Clemente sons, Roberto insisted that Vera return to Puerto Rico so that they would be born on Puerto Rican soil. Roberto loved his homeland.

"People remember him as a ballplayer, but he was so much more. He was a father, a husband, a wonderful man."
—Vera Clemente

Who am I?
I am a small point in the eye of the full moon.
I only need one ray of the sun to warm my face.
I only need one breeze from the Alisios to refresh my soul.
What else can I ask if I know that my sons really love me.

—Roberto Clemente, a poem written one Father’s Day


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