For Hispanic Heritage Month, a spotlight on Roberto Clemente, sports hero and humanitarian

The story of Roberto Clemente is a story that goes beyond baseball — and it’s why a new book series for children just launched from Hispanic Star has profiled the star and highlighted his life story for children of all ages, in both English and Spanish.

This year of 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Clemente’s death in 1972 — a year of enormous achievement for him but also one of great sadness for his family and friends after his untimely passing at the very end of that year.

In 1972 the star right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates won his 12th Golden Glove and notched his 3,000th-career hit. 


After a devastating earthquake hit Nicaragua that year, Clemente — born in Puerto Rico — joined in on relief efforts to help people in need, according to many reports. 

Clemente boarded a plane on New Year’s Eve to help ensure that supplies would reach the recipients for which those supplies were intended.

However, according to multiple reports, the aircraft he chartered crashed shortly after taking off from Puerto Rico on Dec. 31, 1972. Clemente and four others perished in the crash.

He was only 38 years old.

Clemente was the youngest of seven children — and as an adult, he gave back to others in a way that many people didn’t realize or appreciate during his lifetime.

Among the points made in his obituary: He was born to Don Melchor Clemente and Luisa Walker on August 18, 1934. 

“He loved spending time with his kids and playing baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates … Survivors include Mother Luisa Walker, Father Don Melchor Clemente Brothers Andres Clemente, Justino Clemente and Osvaldo Clemente, Sisters Rosa Oquendo and Anairis Clemente. Wife Vera Cristina Zabala and Children Roberto Clemente Jr., Roberto Enrique Walker and Luis Roberto Walker.”

His life story and that of many others is why Claudia Romo Edelman, creator of Hispanic Star, said in a recent telephone interview with Fox News Digital that America is made of stars — and “we Hispanics are among them.”

Edelman is a humanitarian leader of Hispanic heritage who lived and worked for 25 years in Europe before moving to the U.S. eight years ago with her two children.

She is on a mission now to set the record straight about Americans of Latino background — and to showcase their contributions to the U.S.

Born in Mexico City, Mexico, and today based in New York City, Romo Edelman founded the We Are All Human (WAAH) foundation. The group aims to “reveal, elevate and celebrate the best of humanity,” according to the organization’s website.

To coincide with the start of Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15 (which runs through Oct. 15), the book series from Hispanic Star will shine a spotlight on the contributions and accomplishments of Americans of Hispanic heritage.

Published by Roaring Brook Press as part of the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, the series opens a window into the lives of a range of Americans who have made contributions to our nation in many fields, including philanthropy, sports, the arts and more.

“Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente,” coauthored with Sara Echenique and illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez, was just published on Sept. 6, 2022.

Said Romo Edelman, “I want the Hispanic Star series to be a source of inspiration and pride for the next generation — and for Hispanics to be recognized for their incredible contributions to this country,” she added.

Six initial books comprise the series.

“By the end of next year, there will be a boxed set — a collection of books to give as gifts to children, to schools, to libraries — ideally allowing every Latino child to have access to their heroes,” said Romo Edelman.

From “Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente”: Roberto used his incredible baseball skills and accomplishments to help reach people. 

Over time, his many efforts grew into something bigger than himself. 

Children learned to love baseball and other sports because of the passion he had for his own. 

He inspired some to accomplish what no one has done before. 

He moved others to help people and make a difference, to not “waste their time on this earth.” 

How will you make the most of your time here?

From “Hispanic Star: Roberto Clemente,” copyright 2022 by We Are All Human Foundation, written by Claudia Romo Edelman and Sara E. Echenique, and illustrated by Manuel Gutierrez, is published by Roaring Brook Press. Used with permission. 

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