On This Day: Roberto Clemente is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
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After the tragic death of Roberto Clemente, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America sprang into action.
It couldn’t go long without having Clemente in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Clemente was not only one of the MLB’s greatest players, he was one of its greatest statesman. His charity work across Latin America was the stuff of legend.
And on the baseball field, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Tragically, in the midst of his charitable efforts, Clemente died in a plane crash on December 31, 1972.
On this day in 1973, Roberto Clemente was voted into the baseball Hall of Fame in a special election.
Clemente’s election came eleven weeks after he was killed in a plane crash while taking relief supplies from Puerto Rico to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua. pic.twitter.com/vjBSwqL8pk
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) March 20, 2020
He was 38 years old.
Clemente was an All-Star in 1972, and he had won his 12th consecutive Gold Glove Award that same year.
Upon his death, things changed in the MLB, specifically with its Hall of Fame selection process. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America decided to wave the waiting period for Clemente, and in a special election, voted him into the Hall on March 20, 1973, a little less than three months after his untimely death.
The waiting period to be considered for the Hall of Fame is five years after a player’s retirement.
Many consider Clemente one of the greatest right fielders of all-time, along with Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron.
Today, Clemente’s legacy lives on. The Roberto Clemente Award – formally known as the Commissioner’s Award – is handed out based on the following criteria:
The award is given annually to a player who demonstrates the values Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente displayed in his commitment to community and understanding the value of helping others. Each club nominates a player in September. The winner is selected from 30 nominees during the World Series. Originally the Commissioner’s Award, the honor was named for Clemente in 1973.