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The Best Roberto Clemente Quotes About Generosity & Serving Others

The best Roberto Clemente quotes about legacy, humility, and giving back to the community
Credit-AP/Roberto Clemente Foundation/Joker Mag

Even with the accolades he received on the field, Roberto Clemente is often remembered for the charity work he did off of it.

Ask any baseball fan about Roberto Clemente and many remember how his life came to a tragic end.

Clemente had been arranging to deliver relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua but supplies were diverted by Nicaraguan government officials and did not reach survivors.

So on New Year’s Eve of 1972, Clemente himself decided to accompany the flight so supplies would reach their intended destination. Unfortunately, they never did. He lost his life in a tragic plane crash along with the pilot and three others.

Roberto Clemente was a man who devoted his life to helping others in need wherever and whenever he could. His life and legacy off of the baseball diamond as much as his play on it contributed to his place as one of the game’s greats.

He grew up in a family of seven children. With limited family money, he worked in the sugarcane fields alongside his father and brothers. Considered a track and field star who could have represented Puerto Rico as an Olympian, he instead chose baseball and played in a Puerto Rican amateur league.

One thing that stands out about Clemente in the search for quotes about his life and legacy is his humility, his devotion to the church and Catholicism, and his concern for making life better for everyone – particularly in his native homeland of Puerto Rico.

Every September 15th is Roberto Clemente Day in Major League Baseball – where every player wears the number 21 in his honor.

Here are the most inspiring quotes from Roberto Clemente – sourced from old press clippings, television appearances, and more.

The Best Quotes from Roberto Clemente

A quote from Roberto Clemente that says: Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth.

“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.” – Roberto Clemente

“I am convinced that God wanted me to be a baseball player. I was born to play baseball.” – Roberto Clemente

“The government spent millions for dope control in Puerto Rico, but they attack the problem after it is there. Why don’t they attack it before it starts? It would help to get kids interested in sports and give them somewhere to learn.” Roberto Clemente

“I am from the poor people. I represent the poor people. I like workers. I like people that suffer because these people have a different approach to life from the people that have everything and don’t know what suffering is.” – Roberto Clemente

“There’s no difference between me and you. You need something, a glove, a place to live, you let me know.” – Roberto Clemente to his teammate Manny Sanguillen

“I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give.” – Roberto Clemente

“A nation without heroes is nothing.” – Roberto Clemente

“I always respect everybody and thanks to God when I grew up I was raised by my mother and father who never told me to hate anyone or they never told me to dislike anybody because of race or color. I started listening to this talk when I came to the States so to me I would say that this is something that I love everybody.” Roberto Clemente

“The first day that I got to Fort Myers there was a newspaper that said there was a Puerto Rican hot dog in town so now these people never knew anything about me but they knew I was Puerto Rican as soon as I got to camp they told me of a Puerto Rican hot dog.” – Roberto Clemente

“They told me, ‘Roberto, you better keep your mouth shut because they will ship you back,’ and I said I don’t care one way or the other if I was good enough to play here I had to be good not to be treated like the rest of the players.  I don’t want to be put in the bathroom because I came here from Puerto Rico. I want to be right there in front of everybody.” – Roberto Clemente

“I don’t believe in color.” Roberto Clemente

“I am more valuable to my team hitting .330 than swinging for home runs.” – Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente quote that reads: Why does everyone talk about the past? All that counts is tomorrow's game.

“Why does everyone talk about the past? All that counts is tomorrow’s game.” – Roberto Clemente

“When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth.” – Roberto Clemente

“We used to travel in a station wagon because we could not eat where the white players used to eat. Now we are in Florida not too far from Puerto Rico and you see the white player go to a restaurant and they said fellows do you want anything to eat? Now we are sitting in the bus. I remember one of the players said if you ever accept anything from that restaurant from anybody from that restaurant you and me we are going to go at it. We are going to fight because it is unfair that these guys can’t eat in the restaurant.” – Roberto Clemente

“If a Latin player or even a black player is sick, they say it is all in the head. Felipe Alou once went to his team doctor and the doctor said, ‘You don’t have anything.’  So he went to a private doctor and the doctor said, ‘You have a broken foot.’” Roberto Clemente

“We are on the field doing what we love to do. [The fans] have to work in the mill or other places eight hours a day and work much harder than us and they pay their way in.” Roberto Clemente after the July 24th, 1970 game played in his honor

“I want the money to help poor kids” Roberto Clemente

“To the people here, we are outsiders. Foreigners.” – Roberto Clemente

“If I was president of the United States, I would build a sports city and take in kids of all ways of life. What we want to do is exchange kids with every city in the United States and show all the kids how to live and play with other kids.” – Roberto Clemente

“My biggest worry – to live for my kids to be people that people look at them and respect them and they respect other people.” – Roberto Clemente

Quotes About Roberto Clemente & His Legacy

Below are quotes from others about the life and legacy of the great Roberto Clemente.

“When he passed away, all the funds that were raised were used to build a pediatrics wing at the Masaya Hospital [in Nicaragua]. That expansion for a pediatrics department was built with those funds, with the collaboration of engineers over there, and we’d transfer funds to them.… A lot of people from [Puerto Rico] went to that inauguration.… The hospital was decorated, it had air-conditioning, color TV, very pretty, pediatric, it was for children.” Vera Clemente, Roberto’s wife

“For him, it was much more important to give than to take, to please than be pleased.”  Ramiro Martinez, baseball broadcaster

“I don’t think Clemente turned down many people who wanted his help – if anybody.” – Joe Brown, Pittsburgh Pirates GM

“Roberto Clemente played the game of baseball with great passion. That passion could only be matched by his unrelenting commitment to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate and those in need. People saw Roberto as a great ballplayer and humanitarian. He was also a great father, husband, teammate, and friend.” – Manny Sanguillen, Pirates teammate

“Roberto Clemente was a legendary figure both as a player and a humanitarian. I have long been aware of his heroic efforts on behalf of others, and to have my name associated with his is a very special honor.” Al Leiter, winner of the 2000 Roberto Clemente Award

“He is a hero and role model for all of us who play the game and strive to be as good a player and person as he was.” – Jim Thome, winner of the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award

Is there a Roberto Clemente quote that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

More quote collections you might enjoy:

23 Inspiring Jim Abbott Quotes to Help You Overcome Adversity

The Most Inspiring Baseball Quotes From The All-Time Greats

Written By

Ben Abel has been an avid sports fan since the 1980s. He has contributed to Sports Betting Dime, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America Newsletter, and Joker Mag writing about hockey, baseball, and football as well as other sports. He lives in Vancouver, Canada.



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