Clemente, who was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, began his baseball career at the age of 16 when he joined the Puerto Rican amateur league followed by becoming a pro at age 18 when he joined the Santurce Cangrejeros (Crabbers) in 1952.
The right fielder was then signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league affiliate in Montreal where he delivered a game-winning homerun during his first at bat. Clemente would soon join Major League Baseball as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Clemente made a large impact on MLB, earning 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, 4 National League batting titles, 3,000 career hits, the 1966 National League MVP Award and two World Series wins including the World Series MVP Award in 1971.
Clemente, outside of baseball, used his time to help others in need by donating to charities, delivering food and supplies to those less fortunate and by holding baseball clinics for children. He would die at the age of 38 in 1972 after a plane he boarded that was holding supplies for those affected by an earthquake in Nicaragua, crashed after takeoff.
Following his death, Clemente became the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. MLB also presents every year the Roberto Clemente Award to players who commit themselves to charitable work.
Google’s homepage features artwork by Roxie Vizcarra of Clemente swinging a baseball bat in front of Puerto Rico.
The Doodle was made in conjunction with Clemente’s family including his sons Roberto Clemente Jr. and Luis Clemente. “Our Dad was an incredible athlete, but more importantly, he continuously used his platform to better humanity,” they said.
“It is amazing to see a kid from Carolina, Puerto Rico be remembered with this Google Doodle in this age of technology and new platforms to communicate with people around the world. The best part however, is the human story of our Dad behind it, which we hope motivates us all to do something to help our brothers and sisters,” they continued.