Clemente tops list of greatest players from PR (2023)

September 9th, 2020

Clemente tops list of greatest players from PR (1)

David Adler


Puerto Rico has given Major League Baseball some of the best players in the game today -- from potential future Hall of Fame catcher Yadier Molina to superstar shortstops Javier "El Mago" Báez, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa.

It's also given MLB some of the great players of the past -- some of the greatest to ever play the game, in fact.

(Video) Pittsburgh Pirates | The 10 Greatest Players In Of All-time

In honor of MLB's celebration of Hispanic Heritage month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, here are the top five Puerto Rican position players of all time.

1) Roberto Clemente
Career achievements: 3,000 hits, .317 batting average, 240 HR, 2 World Series championships, 1966 NL MVP, 1971 WS MVP, 15-time All-Star, 12 Gold Gloves, 4 batting titles, Hall of Fame (1973)

No. 1 is no surprise. Clemente stands alone. Born in Carolina in 1934, he is not just the greatest Puerto Rican player of all time, he is one of the most iconic players in baseball history. There's a reason MLB celebrates Clemente's legacy every year with Roberto Clemente Day and the Clemente Award.

On the field, Clemente was one of the greatest right fielders ever. The Pirates legend collected exactly 3,000 hits in his MLB career -- making him the only Puerto Rican-born member of the 3,000-hit club -- spending all of his 18 seasons in Pittsburgh. He was a .317 career hitter who made all but one All-Star game from 1960-72 and won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves from '61-72. Clemente hit .310 in the Pirates' seven-game World Series victory over the Yankees in 1960, and he hit .414 with two home runs against the Orioles in the 1971 Fall Classic, including one in the deciding Game 7, to take home World Series MVP honors.

Off the field, Clemente was a humanitarian who did charity work throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Though Clemente's death in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, was one of baseball's most tragic moments, his legacy will live forever.

(Video) Roberto Clemente (The Great One) MLB Legends

2) Roberto Alomar
Career achievements: .300 batting average, 210 HR, 474 stolen bases, 2 World Series championships, 12-time All-Star, 1998 ASG MVP, 10 Gold Gloves, 4 Silver Sluggers, Hall of Fame (2011)

Hailing from Ponce, and the great Alomar baseball family, Robbie Alomar is one of the best second basemen ever. An All-Star for four different franchises in his 17-year career -- the Padres, Blue Jays, Orioles and Indians -- Alomar was as slick as it got at the keystone, winning 10 Gold Gloves in an 11-season span at the position from 1991-2001. He could do it all -- field, hit and run. Alomar finished with 2,724 career hits and 474 steals, the most of any Puerto Rican Major Leaguer.

He was part of one of the most important trades in Blue Jays franchise history, going to Toronto along with Joe Carter in a December 1990 deal with San Diego. Alomar and Carter became integral players for the Blue Jays teams that won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and '93 -- Alomar was the '92 ALCS MVP after hitting .423 with two home runs and five stolen bases, and he also hit .480 with an 1.159 OPS in Toronto's Fall Classic win over the Phillies in '93. And he was just as important to the Orioles and Indians playoff teams of the late '90s, coming up with so many clutch postseason hits.

3) Iván Rodríguez
Career achievements: 2,844 hits, .296 batting average, 311 HR, 46% caught stealing (9-time league leader), 2003 World Series champion, 1999 AL MVP, 14-time All-Star, 13 Gold Gloves, 7 Silver Sluggers, Hall of Fame (2017)

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Pudge is the best all-around catcher in modern baseball history, and the Manatí native stands alongside legends of the game like Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra when it comes to the all-time greats. A strong hitter who collected close to 3,000 hits and over 300 home runs, Rodríguez's true calling card was his defense and arm behind the plate. He led his league in caught stealing percentage nine times (and the Majors five times), including catching a personal-best 60% of basestealers in 2001 with the Rangers. That's why he won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves at catcher from 1992-2001, before going on to win three more in four years from 2004-07.

Rodríguez was a star for the Rangers, Marlins and Tigers in his 21-year career. In his MVP season with Texas in 1999, Pudge hit .332 with 35 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 113 RBIs for the AL West champions while also catching a Major League-best 55% of basestealers. Rodríguez only spent one season in Florida, but he made it count, leading the Marlins to the 2003 World Series championship upset over the Yankees. Then he went on to be an All-Star in four straight seasons in Detroit.

4) Carlos Beltrán
Career achievements: 2,725 hits, 435 HR, 312 stolen bases, 1,587 RBIs, 1,582 runs, 2017 World Series champion, 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, 9-time All-Star, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers

From Manatí like Pudge, Beltrán is one of baseball's best switch-hitters. In his prime, he was a power-speed superstar and an elite defensive center fielder, excelling at all parts of the game. In his 20 seasons in the Majors, Beltrán starred for the Royals, Astros and Mets in the first half of his career and played key roles as a veteran for the Giants, Cardinals, Yankees and Astros again in his late-career return to Houston.

Carlos Delgado is the only Puerto Rican player with more home runs than Beltrán's 435, and only Alomar and José Cruz have more stolen bases than Beltrán's 312. No Puerto Rican player has more RBIs than Beltrán's 1,587 or runs scored than Beltrán's 1,582.

(Video) Top Ten Roberto Clemente Card’s in my collection🔥🔥🔥VR for GW 573

Beltrán nearly joined the 40-40 club in 2003 with the Royals and Astros, finishing with 38 homers and 42 steals that year before having one of the greatest postseason runs of all time, slugging eight home runs in 12 games for Houston to tie Barry Bonds' single-postseason record. Beltrán crushed 41 home runs for the 2006 NL East champion Mets, a career high. And in 2017, he won his only World Series ring with Houston at age 40 in the final year of his playing career.

5) Orlando Cepeda
Career achievements: .297 batting average, 379 HR, 1,365 RBIs, 1967 World Series champion / NL MVP, 1958 NL Rookie of the Year, 11-time All-Star, 1961 NL HR title, Hall of Fame (1999)

There are a few worthy candidates for the final spot on this list, but Cepeda, the great Giant from Ponce, stands out. Cepeda was one of the pioneering players from Puerto Rico, debuting three years after Clemente in 1958 and playing 17 seasons until 1974. Cepeda made his MLB debut in the Giants' first year in San Francisco and immediately formed one of the best duos in baseball alongside Willie Mays. At age 20, Cepeda hit .312 with 25 home runs and a league-leading 38 doubles to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award unanimously.

That was only the beginning. Cepeda would go on to be an All-Star the next six seasons, including a 46-homer, 142-RBI season in 1961 when he led the NL in both categories and finished as the runner-up for MVP to Frank Robinson. Cepeda got his MVP trophy six years later with the Cardinals, when the first baseman hit .325 with 25 homers and a league-leading 111 RBIs and was a unanimous winner. He got his World Series ring that year, too, as St. Louis defeated the Red Sox in seven games.

The Giants retired Cepeda's No. 30 in 1999, the same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, and his statue stands outside Oracle Park in San Francisco.

(Video) Player Showcase - Roberto Clemente - Complete Run!!

Honorable mentions
Carlos Delgado -- 17 seasons, 473 HR, 1,512 RBIs, 2-time All-Star, 3 Silver Sluggers
Juan González -- 17 seasons, 434 HR, 2-time AL MVP, 3-time All-Star, 6 Silver Sluggers


Clemente tops list of greatest players from PR? ›

Roberto Clemente still holds the number one position, and it's not a surprise. Born in Carolina, Clemente is among the most iconic baseball players of all time. That is why MLB celebrates Clemente's legacy every year as Roberto Clemente Day and Clemente Award. Clemente collected 3000 hits in his MLB journey.

Who are the Hall of Famers in Puerto Rico? ›

Some of the most famous baseball players from Puerto Rico include Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Alomar, Iván Rodríguez and Edgar Martinez; as well as Jose "Cheo" Cruz; Juan González; Victor Pellot; Yadier Molina; and Bernie Williams.

Who are the 5 Puerto Rican baseball players in the Hall of Fame? ›

But baseball developed a strong following over time, and Puerto Rico would produce five Hall of Famers -- Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez and Edgar Martinez.

Who was better Clemente or Mays? ›

Mays hit more home runs during a longer career than Clemente. Clemente had a higher career batting average, . 317 to Mays' .

Is Roberto Clemente one of the best baseball players of all time? ›

He had been voted NL MVP. He had qualified for the All-Star team 15 times. He won 12 Gold Gloves as a right fielder. In my enduring judgment, Roberto was the greatest player in Major League Baseball.

Who is 1 famous person from Puerto Rico? ›

Some other Hollywood “big names” who hail from Puerto Rico include actress and philanthropist Roselyn Sánchez, Academy Award-nominee Joaquin Phoenix, and veteran actor Luis Guzmán.

Who are 5 famous athletes from Puerto Rico and what sport they play? ›

Olympics medalists
1Juan Evangelista Venegas TrinidadMen's Bantamweight Boxing
2José Luis "Chegüí" Torres RiveraMen's Light-Middleweight Boxing
3Orlando MaldonadoMen's Light-Flyweight Boxing
4Luis Ortiz FloresMen's Lightweight Boxing
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Who is a baseball Hall of Famer from Puerto Rico? ›

When the great Roberto Clemente was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, shortly after his tragic death in a plane crash, he became the first Latino player to get a plaque in Cooperstown. The Puerto Rico native opened the door, but it took a while for many to join him.

Who is a baseball Hall of Famer hero from Puerto Rico? ›

About Roberto Clemente

The story of Roberto Clemente, however, goes beyond mere numbers. Born Aug. 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Clemente excelled in athletics as a youngster – and at the age of 17 was playing for the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican Baseball League.

Who was the Puerto Rican baseball hero? ›

Roberto Clemente, in full Roberto Clemente Walker, (born August 18, 1934, Carolina, Puerto Rico—died December 31, 1972, San Juan), professional baseball player who was an idol in his native Puerto Rico and one of the first Latin American baseball stars in the United States (see also Sidebar: Latin Americans in Major ...

Who was better Clemente or Robinson? ›

From the perspective of Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Robinson has the career edge at 107.2 to 94.8; as among the greatest players in baseball history, both legends were first ballot Hall of Famers – in fact, the customary waiting period was waived for Clemente and he was immediately inducted in 1973 following his ...

Who was the best hitter against Roger Clemens? ›

One player does stand out as best — the HOF player Jim Thome had an adjusted wOBA of 0.412 against Clemens which is 40 points higher than any other hitter. (By the way, Baseball Roundtable in its “Who's Your Daddy” series identified Thome as a hitter unusually successful against Clemens.)

Where does Roberto Clemente rank? ›

Roberto Clemente Charter School 2022 Rankings

Roberto Clemente Charter School is ranked #8,029 in the National Rankings.

Who has all thrown a perfect game in the MLB? ›

Pitchers. During baseball's modern era, 21 pitchers have thrown perfect games. Most were accomplished major leaguers. Seven have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, Catfish Hunter, Randy Johnson, and Roy Halladay.

Did Roberto Clemente hit an inside-the-park grand slam? ›

On July 25, 1956, Roberto Clemente became the only MLB player to hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in a 9–8 Pittsburgh Pirates win over the Chicago Cubs, at Forbes Field.

Who is the only player in history to hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam home run? ›

60 years ago today, Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente hit the only walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in MLB history. Monica Murphy White and 8,577 others like this.

Who are the richest Puerto Ricans? ›

TOP 10 Richest People in Puerto Rico
1Jennifer Lopez Net Worth: $400M SPOTIFY REVENUE $134K last 30 days $3.5M last 365 days Jennifer Lopez is a Puerto Rican from the Bronx who acts and sings. 🇵🇷
2Ricky Martin Net Worth: $130M
3Benicio del Toro Net Worth: $45M
4Yadier Molina Net Worth: $45M
5Chayanne Net Worth: $40M
5 more rows

Who is the godfather of Puerto Rico? ›

José Luis Alberto Muñoz Marín (February 18, 1898 – April 30, 1980) was a Puerto Rican journalist, politician, statesman and was the first elected governor of Puerto Rico, regarded as the "Architect of the Puerto Rico Commonwealth."

Who are 5 Puerto Rican celebrities? ›

Birth Place Matching "Puerto Rico" (Sorted by Popularity...
  • Joaquin Phoenix. Actor | Walk the Line. ...
  • Adria Arjona. Actress | Father of the Bride. ...
  • Rita Moreno. Actress | West Side Story. ...
  • Roselyn Sanchez. Actress | Act of Valor. ...
  • Benicio Del Toro. Actor | Sicario. ...
  • Ramón Rodríguez. ...
  • Luis Guzmán. ...
  • Yara Martinez.

What are the top 3 Puerto Rican sports? ›

Since it was introduced in the early 1900's, baseball has been the favorite sport of Puerto Rico, followed very close by basketball, and boxing. In addition, Puerto Rico has been participating in the Olympics since 1948 as an independent country.

What is the #1 sport in Puerto Rico? ›

Spectator sports. The most popular spectator sports in Puerto Rico are American imports: baseball, basketball and boxing.

What have Puerto Ricans invented? ›

The piña colada was invented in Puerto Rico.

Why is Roberto Clemente not in the Hall of Fame? ›

Because he died at a young age and had such a historic career, the Hall of Fame changed its rules of eligibility. As an alternative to a player having to be retired for five years before eligibility, a player who has been deceased for at least six months is eligible for entry.

Who was the first Puerto Rican to play in the MLB? ›

Bithorn was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in September 1941 and debuted in the Major Leagues on April 15, 1942, making history as the first Puerto Rican big leaguer.

Has Puerto Rico ever won the World Baseball Classic? ›

In 1951, Puerto Rico became the world baseball champion by winning the event. The team went on to gather six more medals during the tournament's existence, finishing second twice and third four times. Puerto Rico was an inaugural member of the World Baseball Classic, making its debut in the first edition.

Do the Yankees have any Puerto Rican players? ›

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton proud of mom's Puerto Rican roots. New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton's mother Jacinta Garay did her best to incorporate Latino culture into their daily lives. Even the slugger's name is highly influenced by latinidad.

Who is the famous Puerto Rican superhero? ›

La Borinqueña is a Puerto Rican superhero created by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez.

Who was the first Latino in the MLB? ›

Luis Miguel Castro (November 25, 1876 – September 24, 1941) was a baseball player who was born in Medellín, Colombia. According to Major League Baseball, he was the first Latin American to enter the league. Castro was an infielder who played 42 games with the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1902 season.

Who was Roberto Clemente best friend? ›

Sanguillen, 76, was one of Clemente's closest friends. In 1971, they won a World Championship in Pittsburgh and played together on the first all-black starting lineup in baseball history. Sanguillen's world forever changed when Clemente died in a plane crash off the Puerto Rican coast on a humanitarian mission on Dec.

What team has the most Roberto Clemente award winners? ›

The team to have the most winners representing their club is the St. Louis Cardinals. To date, Clemente's former teammate Willie Stargell and Andrew McCutchen are the only members of the Pittsburgh Pirates to receive the honor. Stargell won his award in 1974, and McCutchen in 2015.

How good was Roberto Clemente at baseball? ›

A two-time World Series champion, Clemente earned 15 All-Star Game nods while claiming four NL batting titles and the 1966 NL MVP Award. He ranks 37th all-time with 94.8 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball-Reference. At his prime, he was one of the most complete players the game has ever seen.

Who is the greatest baseball hitter that ever lived? ›

1. Ty Cobb. The Georgia Peach's career batting average over his 24 seasons in baseball is the highest in major league history. Plus, historians have proven he wasn't the worst human being to ever play the game as early biographies reported.

Who was the strongest switch hitter in baseball history? ›

In spite of Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak in 1978 and his achievement of more than 3,000 hits in his career, Mickey Mantle has been selected as the greatest switch hitter in baseball history.

Who is the greatest power hitter in baseball history? ›

Barry Bonds, who set the record for the most home runs in a season in Major League Baseball history, is often cited as a power hitter.

Who has the most gold gloves in MLB history? ›

The most Gold Gloves ever won by one player is 18 by pitcher Greg Maddux. He won 13 consecutive awards from 1990 to 2002, all in the National League.

Who did Roberto Clemente get his 3000 hit? ›

Hall of Fame Membership

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Clemente was leading off against Matlack after a strikeout in his first at-bat. Clemente promptly roped a double to the Three Rivers outfield – his 3,000th and last regular-season hit of his exceptional career.

Did Roberto Clemente have a good arm? ›

Roberto Clemente had gained many admirers of his defense as a right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates since his major-league debut in 1955. Clemente's strong right arm and an array of running catches, basket catches, sliding catches, and leaping catches amazed fans, teammates, and rivals.

Has there ever been a 27 pitch game? ›

Necciai is best remembered for the unique feat of striking out 27 batters in a nine-inning game, which he accomplished while playing with the Class-D Appalachian League team, the Bristol Twins, on May 13, 1952.

Who pitched the most no-hitters? ›

The pitcher who holds the record for the most no-hitters is Nolan Ryan, who threw seven in his 27-year career. His first two came exactly two months apart with the California Angels: the first on May 15, 1973, and the second on July 15.

Has any pitcher thrown 2 perfect games in a row? ›

No major league player has ever thrown two perfect games, although Jean Faut of the AAGPBL accomplished the feat with perfect games in 1951 and 1953.

What is the hardest stadium to hit a home run in? ›

Fenway Park features two of the shortest outfield distances in all of baseball. In left field, the foul pole is 310 feet from home plate. While the 310-foot distance is minuscule by MLB standards, the 37-foot-tall Green Monster adds to the challenge of hitting a home run in that direction.

How far could Roberto Clemente throw a baseball? ›

That field was 309 feet to right, and Clemente threw it from the warning track to just in front of home plate, freezing the runner at third. I estimate that the throw traveled 295 feet in 2.79 seconds. After using the trajectory calculator, I find that Clemente released it at 98.6 mph and at an angle of 9.7 degrees.

How many Hall of Famers does Puerto Rico have? ›

Feinsand: There are four Puerto Rican-born Hall of Famers (Clemente, Ivan Rodriguez, Roberto Alomar, Orlando Cepeda) and at least one other HOFer who grew up there (Edgar Martinez), but Clemente is a clear-cut No.

How many Puerto Ricans are in the Boxing Hall of Fame? ›

There are 11 Puerto Rican fighters currently in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Who is a Hall of Famer and a national hero of Puerto Rico? ›

About Roberto Clemente

Born Aug. 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Clemente excelled in athletics as a youngster – and at the age of 17 was playing for the Santurce Crabbers of the Puerto Rican Baseball League. The Dodgers signed him the following year, and by 1954 he was playing for their Triple-A team in Montreal.

Who is a National Hall of Famer and national hero of Puerto Rico? ›

Roberto Clemente
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Vote92.7% (first ballot)
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Who was the first Puerto Rican in the Hall of Fame? ›

When the great Roberto Clemente was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, shortly after his tragic death in a plane crash, he became the first Latino player to get a plaque in Cooperstown. The Puerto Rico native opened the door, but it took a while for many to join him.

What is the biggest club in Puerto Rico? ›

The most popular and best club in Puerto Rico is 7eight7 Nightclub.

Who was the first Puerto Rican to be inducted into the Hall of Fame? ›

A native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, with his 1973 induction, Clemente was the first player from Latin America to be inducted into the Hall, via special election after his tragic death on December 31, 1972.

Who is the most decorated Puerto Rican? ›

Agustín Ramos Calero is the most decorated Puerto Rican and Hispanic Veteran of World War II. Over the course of his 21 years of service, he earned the nickname “One Man Army.” Born in 1919, Agustín Ramos Calero grew up in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

How many Puerto Ricans have won the Medal of Honor? ›

To date, the number of Puerto Ricans awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously has risen to nine. “Among the nine we are here to remember, one such individual deserving of our utmost respect is Pvt. 1st Class Fernando Luis Garcia, born October 14, 1929, in Utuado, Puerto Rico.

Who are the famous heroes of Puerto Rico? ›

The Puerto Ricans did not have that freedom or a national identity. Thanks to the efforts of national heroes like Eugenio María de Hostos, Luis Muñoz Rivera, José de Diego, and Dr. José Celso Barbosa, they created a national identity and started working towards the dream of independence.

What is the best Clemente biography? ›

Markusen's biography of "The Great One" focuses more on his baseball career, while David Maraniss' 2006 Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero provides more coverage of Clemente's off-field life. The two make a good bookend to the best right-fielder in Major League history.

What state in the US is closest to Puerto Rico? ›

As you might expect, the closest U.S. cities to Puerto Rico are in the state of Florida.

Does Puerto Rico have a Baseball Hall of Fame? ›

The Puerto Rican Baseball Hall of Fame (Salón de la Fama del Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico) is an organization dedicated to honoring baseball players of note who were born in or had significant connections with Puerto Rico. Its first President was Rafael Costas.


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