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Roberto Clemente, a Hispanic Hero

Roberto Clemente is a prominent figure and an inspiration to various people, especially marginalized ones. He was one of the best players in the history of baseball, and he is included in the Hall of Fame to commemorate his achievements. However, his sports performance was not the only distinguishing factor of his personality and life. Roberto Clemente was also a humanitarian and a powerful source of inspiration, overcoming the discrimination that was prevalent at the time and helping others. As such, there are lessons to be learned from his attitude and his conduct that can benefit anyone that learns from them. Because of his many achievements and his philosophy, Roberto Clemente is a hero to many people, including myself.

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The player’s legendary performance is his claim to fame and should be discussed first. According to Hernández, Roberto Clemente became the first Hispanic and the first Puerto Rican MVP in the National League, and only twenty players had matched his record by 2014 (80-81). Clemente managed to reach the highest level in his field through his dedication to the sport and his talent. His success shows Hispanic children that they can succeed, as well, if they put in the necessary effort. However, Clemente’s superb sportsmanship is only part of why he is my hero and not another highly successful person.

Roberto Clemente was known for his excellent character, which helped him overcome the various barriers that stopped him from succeeding. Tyler and Wilcox describe him as compassionate and resilient, overcoming discrimination while improving others’ lives: “I am from the poor people; I represent the poor people” (118). Despite his massive success and newfound wealth, the player never forgot his humble origins and gave back to the community. He wanted to call attention to the difficulties of his community and achieve equality for Hispanics and other groups that constituted the civil rights movement. This humility and respect for his origins are traits that inspire deep admiration in me, and I am grateful for his contribution to equality.

The last aspect of Roberto Clemente’s heroism that bears mention is his commitment to charity, improving the lives of people both actively and passively. Denenberg and Roscoe highlight his charity efforts, helping the city of Managua after an earthquake, and note that he died while flying there to personally oversee the delivery of supplies, which were being stolen (28). They provide another quote: “Any time you have the opportunity to accomplish something for somebody who comes behind you and you don’t do it, you are wasting your time on earth” (Denenberg and Roscoe 29). I find this outlook that seeks to improve others’ present and future to be highly inspirational and try to follow the words.

Heroism is more than achievements, as unpleasant but talented people can attain those. The central part of the concept is one’s character, which informs the actions that others are inspired to imitate. Roberto Clemente was profoundly highly-achieved, compassionate, humble, and charitable. These qualities make him a hero and an inspiration to the Hispanic community throughout the United States. However, while his efforts to help those in other nations and his background also taught me a valuable lesson. Clemente was an inspiration to everyone, and his kindness, which bypassed ethnic borders in a time of discrimination, is admirable. His work helped me understand the Latino communities of the time as well as those in the present.

Works Cited

Denenberg, Dennis, and Roscoe, Lorraine. 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. 3rd ed., Lerner Publishing Group, 2016.

Hernández, Lou. Chronology of Latin Americans in Baseball, 1871-2015. McFarland Incorporated Publishers, 2016.

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Tyler, Stephen W., and Wilcox, J. J. “The Intimation of Resilience Through Sports Metaphors.” Sports and Understanding Organizations, edited by Daniel J. Svyantek. Information Age Publishing Incorporated, 2017, pp. 107-126.

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