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Roberto Clemente: Young Ball Player

Roberto Clemente: Young Ball Player

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Roberto Clemente: Young Ball Player

5/5 (1 rating)
126 pages
1 hour
Sep 5, 2008


Roberto Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican professional baseball player. He played 18 seasons at right field for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a National League, Most Valuable Player once, All-Star twelve times (15 games), batting champion four times, and Gold Glove winner twelve times. In 1972, Clemente got his 3,000th major league hit.

Clemente was very involved in charity work in Puerto Rico and Latin American countries during the off seasons. He died in an airplane accident on December 31, 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Now readers can explore how his childhood influenced his life.
Sep 5, 2008

About the author

Montrew Dunham is the author of a number of biographies for young readers in the popular Childhood of Famous American Series. Her titles include “Ronald Reagan,” “Neil Armstrong,” “Langston Hughes,” “Oliver Wendell Holmes,” “John Muir,” “Roberto Clemente,” “Margaret Bourke White,” “Thurgood Marshall,” “George Westinghouse,” and “Anne Bradstreet.” She also has the following titles in the Young Patriots Series, “Mahalia Jackson,” “Abner Doubleday,” and “James Whitcomb Riley.”She first learned to love history as a Latin student at Butler University where she earned her A.B. degree. Her Master’s degree is from Northwestern University.Dunham has been fascinated by where her research has led her as she gathered information on the life and times of the people who have made history. She lives in Downers Grove, Illinois where she is active in the Downers Grove Historical society and has written two books about the history of the Village, “Downers Grove 1832 to 1982” and “Downers Grove Revisited.”When she isn’t writing she loves spending time with her family, her children and grandchildren in Illinois and Texas.

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Roberto Clemente - Montrew Dunham

Dear Reader:

The Childhood of Famous Americans series, seventy years old in 2002, chronicles the early years of famous American men and women in an accessible manner. Each book is faithful in spirit to the values and experiences that influenced the person’s development. History is fleshed out with fictionalized details, and conversations have been added to make the stories come alive to today’s reader, but every reasonable effort has been made to make the stories consistent with the events, ethics, and character of their subjects.

These books reaffirm the importance of our American heritage. We hope you learn to love the heroes and heroines who helped shape this great country. And by doing so, we hope you also develop a lasting love for the nation that gave them the opportunity to make their dreams come true. It will do the same for you.

Happy Reading!

The Editors

Roberto Clemente

Young Baseball Player

Illustrated by Meryl Henderson

Roberto Clemente

Young Baseball Player

by Montrew Dunham


If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as unsold and destroyed by the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this stripped book.

First Aladdin Paperbacks edition April 1997

Copyright © 1997 by Montrew Dunham

Aladdin Paperbacks

An imprint of Simon & Schuster

Children’s Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10020

All rights reserved, including the right of

reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

CHILDHOOD OF FAMOUS AMERICANS is a registered trademark of

Simon & Schuster, Inc.

ALADDIN PAPERBACKS and colophon are trademarks of

Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 12 14 16 18 20 19 17 15 13 11

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Dunham, Montrew.

Roberto Clemente: young ball player / by Montrew Dunham

—1st Aladdin Paperbacks ed.

p.  cm.—(Childhood of famous Americans)

Summary: Traces the personal life and baseball career of the Puerto Rican baseball

superstar, from his childhood love of the game through his professional career and

untimely death to his election to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

ISBN-13: 978-0-689-81364-1

eISBN-13: 978-1-439-13652-2

I. Clement, Roberto, 1934-1972—Juvenile literature.

2. Baseball players—United

States—Biograry—Juvenile literature.

3. Puerto Ricans—Biography—Juvenile literature.

[1. Clemente, Roberto, 1934-1972. 2. Baseball players. 3. Puerto Ricans—Biography.]

I. Title.

II. Series: Childhood of famous Americans series.

GV865.C45D86  1997


[B]  96-37326



Dedicated to Ciudad Sportiva

I am grateful to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Pittsburgh Pirates for taking the time to answer all of my questions.



Full pages

Roberto and all his friends had fun playing.

Roberto worked in the cane fields beside his father.

Roberto and his father rode home from the fields.

Every day Roberto went for milk for Señora Ruiz.

Roberto rode up on his shiny new bicycle!

Roberto’s messy hair broke the barber Fidalgo’s combs.

A man strolled over to watch the game.

Roberto streaked past.

On October 9, 1952, Roberto joined the Santurce Crabbers.

Roberto spent most of his time on the bench.

He held onto the ball.

Roberto enjoyed visiting children in the hospital.

The eleventh player to get three thousand hits.

On March 20, 1973, Roberto Clemente was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Numerous smaller illustrations


Play Ball!

Working in the Fields

The Special Surprise

Ten Home Runs!

Pennies in a Jar

A Trip to the Barber

I Am Roberto Clemente

The Very First Uniform


The Big Leagues

A New Beginning

Dreams Coming True

Roberto Clemente Night

World Champions

A Terrible Loss

Roberto’s Stats


Roberto Clemente

Young Baseball Player

Play Ball!

ROBERTO CLEMENTE LOVED to play baseball more than anything else. Even when he didn’t have a ball to play with, he and his friends hit tin cans. Often they used any kind of a stick they could find as a bat.

Roberto was born on August 18, 1934 in Puerto Rico, a sunny island in the Caribbean where people spoke Spanish. He lived in the small town of Carolina, which was near San Juan. The youngest of seven children, he had two sisters—Rosa and Ana Elise—and four brothers—Luis, Matino, Andres, and Oswaldo. Luis and Rosa were Roberto’s mother’s children from her first marriage. They were much older than Roberto. Sadly, Ana Elise died when Roberto was very young.

Like most of the men in Roberto’s neighborhood, the Barrio of San Anton, Roberto’s father, Melchor Clemente, worked in the sugarcane fields. He worked very hard, and had been promoted to a foreman. He oversaw the work of a crew of sugarcane cutters. Even so, he did not make very much money.

In the wintertime the children went to school Mondays through Fridays, but after school and until mid-summer they helped with the work. During the day Roberto’s older brothers went with their father to the fields to work, or sometimes they helped in the little store which their parents ran out of their home. Señor Clemente also had an old truck that he used to make extra money. With the truck, he hauled sugarcane or building materials or anything else that needed to be moved. Señor Clemente and his wife, Luisa, both worked very hard to have enough money to take care of their family.

One summer day, Roberto had helped his brothers Matino and Andres load the truck with sand. After they finished their work, he ran to the field across the road from his house to see if there were any boys playing baseball.

José was already there with his broomstick bat and a pile of tin cans. Roberto, will you pitch to me? José called.

Roberto went to the pretend pitcher’s mound by the tin cans and tossed a can to José. He swung at it and missed. Their rules were that if the hitter missed, he had to be the pitcher for the other boy. But José protested, I didn’t see the can coming! Pitch another to me!

Okay, Roberto said, and pitched another can. This time José hit it. Roberto threw a couple more cans until José finally missed one. Now it was José’s turn to pitch to Roberto.

José threw the cans high and low. Sometimes he tossed the can so crooked that Roberto had to leap to the side to swing at it. But Roberto always hit the tin can. José complained, I always have to be the pitcher, because you never miss!

Roberto laughed. He loved playing ball, and liked being able to hit so well. Sometimes he hit the tin cans so hard that they sailed across the field to the banana trees.

Okay, you can be the hitter and I’ll toss the cans to you, he said to José. But first we need to pick them up. The boys scrambled all over the dusty field to pick up the many cans Roberto had hit.

They collected all the tin cans and once again placed them in a pile next to where the pitcher

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