American Experience: Roberto Clemente

About

On December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, a 37-year-old baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, boarded a DC-7 aircraft loaded with relief supplies for survivors of a catastrophic earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua. Concerned over reports that the Nicaraguan dictatorship was misusing shipments of aid, Clemente, a native of neighboring Puerto Rico, hoped his involvement would persuade the government to distribute relief packages to the more than 300,000 people affected by the disaster. Shortly after takeoff, the overloaded aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, just one mile from the Puerto Rican coast. Roberto Clemente’s body was never recovered.

Clemente’s untimely death brought an end to a spectacular career. In his 18 seasons with the Pirates, he led the team to two World Series championships, won four National League batting titles, received the Most Valuable Player award and earned 12 consecutive Gold Gloves. In his final turn at bat for the 1972 season, Clemente made his 3,000th career hit — an achievement that had been reached by 10 major league players before him and only 15 since.

American Experience: Roberto Clemente is a documentary about the exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball’s first Latino superstar. From independent filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz, the program features interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Maraniss (Clemente) and George F. Will (Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball), Clemente’s wife, Vera, Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda and former teammates to present an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose passion and grace made him a legend.

Airdates

Tuesday, January 25, at 9pm on ThinkTV16
Sunday, January 30, at 10pm on ThinkTV14

Post expires at 10:30am on Monday January 31st, 2022