Baseball legend Roberto Clemente was the fan favorite in a three-way contest held by the Smithsonian, besting two of the sport's other greats, Babe Ruth and Brooklyn/LA Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax.
As a result, Clemente’s photo will hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery as part of its “Recognize” series, the Smithsonian announced Tuesday.
The series, launched last year, allows the public to decide whose likeness should be displayed as an influencer of American history and culture. Three portraits are presented twice a year to the public for a vote. The photo of Clemente was made by photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris, a Pittsburgh Courier photographer, former semi-pro baseball player and founder of the Pittsburgh Crawfords.
The Puerto Rican-born Clemente was a right fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he played his entire 18-year career. He was the first Latino to win a World Series as a starter and to receive a Most Valuable Player Award and a World Series MVP Award.
He registered 3,000 hits, hitting the mark on his final at bat in a regular season game. He was inducted posthumously into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Clemente was beloved as much for his work off the field as on. Clemente was involved in many charitable and humanitarian efforts. He died in 1972 when the plane he was on crashed immediately after takeoff. He was delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.