Remembering Humanitarian and Baseball Star Roberto Clemente with American Experience
American Experience: Roberto Clemente is an in-depth look at an exceptional baseball player and committed humanitarian who challenged racial discrimination to become baseball’s first Latino superstar. Featuring interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David Maraniss and George F. Will, Clemente’s wife Vera, Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, and former teammates, the documentary presents an intimate and revealing portrait of a man whose passion and grace made him a legend.
On December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente, a thirty-eight-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 nearby 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.