I don't recall seeing Roberto Clemente play baseball but probably have because I have been a baseball fan all my life. But it's the quotation above that caught my attention and made me curious about the man behind it.
I knew Roberto was a Pirate and died in a plane crash taking emergency supplies to victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake in 1972.
But there's a lot more to know:
Roberto played eighteen seasons and was the first Latin American Caribbean player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was a golden glove winner twelve times, a feat equaled only by one other outfielder, a guy named Willie Mays. Vin Scully said, "Clemente could field the ball in New York and throw out a guy in Pennsylvania."
Roberto was an All-Star for twelve consecutive seasons, with a batting average over .300.
He won two World Series with the Pirates over the Yankees and the Giants (I like that!) He was named World Series MVP against the Giants and batted .414 in that series.
His career high batting average was .357 in the 1967 season, in which he hit 23 home runs with 110 RBI's.
He hit the only walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in baseball history.
And he got his 3000th hit in his last official-at bat as a player. At the time he was only the twelfth player to do so and the only one ever to do it in his last at-bat, almost as if God planned it that way.
Only four baseball players have been honored on U.S. postage stamps: Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Roberto Clemente and Lou Gehrig. Clemente also served for six years in the Unites States Marine Corps Reserve.
Never forgetting his own humble beginnings, he spent nearly every off-season of his career doing charitable work for the less fortunate.
When the Nicaraguan earthquake hit, Roberto organized three planes of relief supplies, food and medicine to be flow in. All three were diverted by corrupt officials. So he decided that if he were on the flight, the aid might stand a better chance of getting to those in need. The overloaded fourth plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
Roberto Clemente had been quoted as saying, "I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give."
He gave all he had to give in more ways than one and is remembered for living a life in service to others. And his life is still an example to millions, including me.
You know, I always assumed that Nicaragua was his home country. But in fact, Roberto Clemente was from Puerto Rico.