Roberto Clemente 1958 Timeline

From BR Bullpen

This is the 1958 installment in a chronology of memorable moments in the professional career of Roberto Clemente.

__ Apr 06 __ "Clemente’s Slam Wins For Pirates"

"Clemente’s grand slam homer in the eighth inning wiped out a 2-1 Kansas City lead and gave the Pirates a 4-3 margin in games between the clubs this spring." [1]

Some shaky defense courtesy of Kansas City sets the stage for RC's one-out 8th-inning blast.

"Up stepped Clemente and he parked the ball over the left-center fence as the 784 fans howled." [2]

__ Apr 17 __ 410-Foot Triple Leads to Tying Run

"“The only Buc run came in the fifth when Clemente shot a line drive to the fence in center for a triple. He scored after Gene Baker hoisted to Bob Hazle in right field.” [3]

__ Apr 25 __ 1st '58 HR (and 1st of 3 Game-Winners) Ruins Reds

"“Roberto Clemente got in on all the scoring tonight, including his three-run homer in the seventh.” [4] “The Pirates broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh when Clemente hammered his homer into the right-field bleachers off Harvey Haddix... Clemente’s double, an infield out and Foiles’ sac fly in the sixth [had] enabled the Pirates to tie the score.” [5]

__ May 06 __ Mays vs. Momen: Momen Crashes Mays' Party – Part II

A little belated ‘back atcha’ from Roberto as the tit-for-tat continues: Aside from being arguably the two most exciting players in baseball, it would seem our two protagonists likewise share a constitutional inability to resist the urge to rain on the other’s birthday ‘parade’ whenever the opportunity presents itself.

"Only a spectacular catch by Clemente on a 400-foot blast by Mays in the sixth with the bases loaded and Witt on the mound prevented San Francisco from making a genuine rout of the thing." [6]

__ May 25 __ Mays vs. Momen: Mays Makes Bid For Nobel Peace Prize

Performing something of an end run around their ongoing on-field rivalry, Mays endears himself to Momen's hometown fans:

"The Giants won a riot and two ball games today as their fists and bats chopped down the Pirates, 5-2 and 6-1 to increase their National league lead over Milwaukee to 2 ½ games. The second largest crowd in Forbes Field history, 35, 797 booing partisan fans, saw cool Willie Mays stop a free-for-all in the opening game and when the smoke lifted after the second contest, the Bucs from the Smoky City were five games off the pace. Even in the lair of the Pirates and despite their double defeat, Mays was the hero of the hour. In the middle of a player melee precipitated by a recurrence of a beanball feud that first broke out when Pittsburgh visited San Francisco, Willie tackled a near-berserk Orlando Cepeda to keep him from causing havoc with a bat.." [7]

In game two, their rivalry reverts to more convential displays of one-upsmanship:

“The Giants scored one in the second and a Roberto Clemente triple in the bottom of the inning scored Thomas for 1-1.” [8]

After Mays’ 6th-inning double sparks decisive 3-run rally, Momen and Maz attempt to do likewise for Bucs with 7th-inning singles. Unfortunately, big Klu spoils picture by pinch-hitting into inning-ending double play.

__ May 28 __ Robby's Revenge: Robbie versus Sandy ... and Zim

" Zimmer’s boot of Clemente’s roller with two out in the sixth loaded the bases. Fortunately, Mazeroski hit into a force play to take the pressure off Koufax." [9]

RC has already applied pressure of his own with 2-out double in 2nd, but is similarly stranded by Maz. Incidentally, it may be more than just seeing Clemente tearing down towards first base that's gotten into Zim's head. Joe Torre's future right-hand man has already been embarrassed twice on the bases himself by this point, having been caught overrunning first by RC himself in the second inning and then caught off second by center fielder Bill Virdon in the fourth.

__ July 17 __ Robby's Revenge: Dodgers Can Run, But They Can't Hide

If Dodgers thought they'd escape Roberto's wrath by relocating, rookie hurler Stan Williams can quickly disabuse them of this notion:

"Hank Foiles flogged No. 5 to foil Williams’ shutout bid in the seventh."[10] In the eighth, after Bill Virdon had singled, Clemente lined a drive over the left field screen." [11] "After Roberto Clemente’s two-run homer with nobody out in the eighth narrowed Los Angeles’ lead to 4-3, Labine relieved Williams and pitched two innings of scoreless ball." [10][12]

Williams and his manager offer their own commentary on Clemente's shot:

"Big Stan Williams, who is fast becoming the ace of the Dodger pitching, was discussing last night’s 5-3 victory over the Pirates. 'Hank Foiles homered on a high curve; it was a very bad pitch,' he said. 'Roberto Clemente got his on an inside fastball which I honestly thought was a very good pitch.' Manager Walt Alston commented, 'That homer by Clemente which forced me to take him out was one of those things. It was a real good pitch, but you can’t always fool major league hitters.'"[13]

__ July 23 __ Robby's Revenge: Key Hits Help Deal Dodgers Double Defeat

RC does most damage during opener:

"Roberto Clemente drove in four runs with a single and an inside-the park homer... Clemente rifled a line drive to the opposite field in the fourth. Jim Gilliam missed a diving catch and the speedy Clemente slid home a split-second before the Snider-Charlie Neal relay to Roseboro arrived.'" [14]

While IPHR breaks game open, RC has already singled in one and scored tying run during decisive Buc rally in third. Providing almost instant deja vu, he will double in one and score tying run during decisive rally in nightcap:

"Starter Sandy Koufax pitched to only two batters. He walked Virdon and yielded a double to Clemente. Clem Labine relieved Sandy. Although he got Stuart on a fly, Thomas scored Clemente with a single to tie the count at 2-2.'" [15]

__ July 25 __ Mays vs. Momen: When Is Scoring Position Not Scoring Position?

When? Why, when Roberto Clemente's in right field, of course.

"The Giants only had one shot at [Pirate starter Curt] Raydon. In the seventh, Willie Mays, after walking in the first and fourth innings, led off with a line-drive single to right. Leon Wagner walked and Cepeda belted one safely to the same field. Even though the Giants were trailing 8-0 and had none away, Mays tried to score and was thrown out – Roberto Clemente to Bill Hall. Willie was out by so far he didn’t even try to slide. After the game Herman Franks, the traffic cop at third base, said, 'I sent him in. It wasn’t Willie’s fault.'" [16]

Mays will not make this mistake again. [See April 12, 1965.] ...Well... not exactly this mistake. [See April 13, 1968].

_ July 26 __ Not Mays vs. Momen: Robbie Robs San Francisco's Other Willie

Kirkland, that is. McCovey's debut is still one year away.

"Roberto Clemente ran deep and far to his right and made a back-hand stab to rob Willie Kirkland of at least a double in the sixth inning. This is the guy some Pirate people said wasn’t hustling in the early going. Roberto’s catch was the greatest theft since the Brinks Inc. robbery." [17]<

_ Aug 04 __ Clemente HR Beats Pizarro, PART TWO: Top-Nine Tie-Breaker

RC blast beats fellow Zorrilla 'client' Pizarro [18] yet again – see May 16, 1957:

“The sleepy engagement dragged along in the later innings with neither team making a move until Clemente laid into a Pizarro pitch in the final frame and rode the ball over the left centerfield wire.” [19] "The tie existed until Clemente broke it with a blast over the left centerfield fence." [20]

The 'sleepy' tenor of the previous two innings notwithstanding, RC has apparently shoehorned a week's worth of wakefulness into the first five:

"Clemente, who had three hits and a walk plus two larcenous catches in right field, set up the tying run in the fifth by singling." [21]

_ Aug 11 __ Game-Saving Walkoff Catch Moves Bucs Into Second Place Tie

Game ends with Adcock's long fly to right center flagged down by RC with two out, two on and the Bucs up by two. [22]

_ Aug 13 __ First Multi-HR Game Gives Bucs a Lead That Lasts, But Barely

Pair of two-run shots first 2 times up put Pirates ahead, 6 zip. Though never headed, Bucs will ultimately need every last insurance run in order to eke out 10-9 victory over cross-state rivals. A few weeks later Roberto will reveal some advice he'd received from teammate Roman Mejias upon returning to the dugout following his second blast:

"I hit two homers this year against Philadelphia. Third time I come to bat, he say don't hit three homers please. He say I hit three homers and next day they bench me."

Whoops! The more intrepid among you, who've bothered to follow the two Mejias links – and perhaps even navigate a bit within retrosheet to investigate the matter further – will be aware of the wild inaccuracy of Mejias' anecdote, unavoidably bringing to mind some of the inaccuracies vis-a-vis Clemente's season in Montreal noted by researcher Stew Thornley in 2006 [23]. That being be said, it should be noted that Roman's 3-month-old portrayal is considerably farther afield than are, respectively, Roberto's 8-[24] and 12-[25]year-old 1954 recreations, respectively.

_ Aug 19 __ Clemente Clamps Down On Cubs With Circus Catches

“The Cubs couldn’t get an offensive menace started, due largely to the Pirates’ right fielder, Roberto Clemente. He made two sensational catches: one acrobatic catch [26] of Bobby Thomson’s liner in the fourth inning and one in the eighth inning to rob Walt Moryn of a single that would have sent Ernie Banks to third with no one out. Clemente also threw out Dale Long, who was attempting to move from first to third on Sam Taylor’s single in the second inning and it was speedy Roberto’s single in the sixth that preceded Stuart’s 450-foot home run.” [27]

_ Sep 08 __ Three-Triple Game Ties Modern Mark Held By Many

Tying a major league record held by many, including, wouldn't you know it, the Say Hey Kid himself.

"Clemente hit a three-bagger off the left-field light tower to open the fourth inning." [28] "Clemente followed Virdon’s [5th-inning RBI] double with his second triple," [29] "this one to right center, but he was out trying to stretch it into a homer." [30] In the eighth, Clemente rifled his third triple to deep center. [31] Clemente's record-tying triple came with two out and two strikes on him when he fired a shot off Willard Schmidt into the right-center hole and easily made it to third." [32]

"'First two I hit,' Clemente said, 'they fast balls. Then I hit curve.'" [33]


  1. (AP), “Clemente's Slam Wins For Pirates,” The Washington Post (Monday, April 7, 1958), p. A 13
  2. (AP), “Dickson Calls Bucs Best In 10 Years; Murry Finds Kids Have Become Pros; Clemente's Grand Slam Defeats A's,” The Pittsburgh Press (Monday, April 7, 1958), p. 20
  3. Jack Hernon: “Mathews Swats 2 More HRs to Sink Bucs; Milwaukee Star Drives In 5 Runs; Burdette Pitches 7-Hitter; Virdon, Clemente Get Two Each,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Friday, April 18, 1958), p. 17
  4. (AP), “Clemente's Bat Gives Bucs 4-3 Win Over Cincy,” The Los Angeles Times (Saturday, April 26, 1958), p. A3
  5. (UP), “Clemente’s First 1958 Homer Scores Victory For Pirates,” The Kittaning Leader-Times (Saturday, April 26, 1958), p. 9
  6. Bob Stevens, “McCormick Collars Pirates, 7-0,” The San Francisco Chronicle (Wednesday, May 7, 1958), p. 2H
  7. Bob Stevens, “Cepeda Grabs Bat To Enter Fight; Mays Tackles Him” The San Francisco Chronicle (Monday, May 26, 1958), p. 1H
  8. Stevens, “Cepeda Grabs Bat...
  9. Frank Finch, “Dodgers Top Pirates, 7-1; Koufax Hurls Six-Hitter,” The Los Angeles Times (Thursday, May 29, 1958), p. C1
  10. 10.0 10.1 Frank Finch, “Dodgers Beat Pirates, 5-3,” The Los Angeles Times (Friday, July 18, 1958), p. C1
  11. (AP), “Pirates (Continued from Page 12),” The Uniontown Evening Standard (Friday, July 18, 1958), p. 13
  12. Frank Finch, “Dodgers Beat Pirates, 5-3,” The Los Angeles Times (Friday, July 18, 1958), p. C1
  13. Al Wolf, “WILLIAMS LAUDED BY ALSTON AFTER HURLING 6TH VICTORY,” The Los Angeles Times (Friday, July 18, 1958), p. C2
  14. Frank Finch, “PIRATES DUMP DODGERS BACK IN CELLAR; Bucs Win Pair by 11-3, 6-3,” The Los Angeles Times (Thursday, July 24, 1958), p. C7
  16. Bob Stevens, The San Francisco Chronicle (Saturday, July 26, 1958)
  17. Bob Stevens, “Antonelli, Grissom Combine to Frustrate Pittsburgh, 1-0,” The San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday, July 27, 1958), p. 2H
  18. RC and JP were both clients or proteges of Zorrilla as were fellow Puerto Ricans Orlando Cepeda and Willie Montanez in the sense that, for all of them, Don Pedrin had facilitated both their early development in PR and their entry into North American baseball.
  19. Red Thisted: “HR in 9th Tips Braves; Clemente's Blow Wins 4-3 Game," The Milwaukee Sentinel (Tuesday, August 5, 1958), PART 2, PAGE 3
  20. Bob Wolf (Continued from page 13, column 8): “Pirates Beat Braves As Clemente Connects,” The Milwaukee Journal (Tuesday, August 5, 1958), p. 14
  21. Bob Wolf (Continued from page 13, column 8): “Pirates Beat Braves As Clemente Connects,” The Milwaukee Journal (Tuesday, August 5, 1958), p. 14
  22. Morris Eckhouse and Carl Mastrocola, This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History (New York, Stein and Day Publishers, 1980), p. 55
  23. Stew Thornley, “Roberto Clemente’s Entry into Organized Baseball: Hidden in Montreal?,” The National Pastime by the Society for American Baseball Research, 2006
  24. Howard Cohn, “Roberto Clemente’s Problem” in Sport, May 1962, p. 56
  25. Myron Cope, “Aches and Pains and Three Batting Titles” in Sports Illustrated, March 7, 1966, p. 34
  26. (AP Wirephoto): "HIT ROBBER," The Fresno Bee Republican (Wednesday, August 20, 1958 ), p. 14-A
  27. Richard Dozer, “Pirates Beat Cubs, 4-3, with 2-Run Homers,” The Chicago Daily Tribune (Wednesday, August 20, 1958), pp. B1, B4
  28. Lester J. Biederman: "Clemente Blasts 3 Triples, Knots Major Loop Mark," The Pittsburgh Press (Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 28. (This link in fact takes you to page one of the 9/6/58 issue. To get to the correct page, clear the contents of the page box, type in '143' and hit 'enter' on your keyboard.)
  29. "Clemente Blasts 3 Triples, Knots Major Loop Mark," The Uniontown Morning Herald (Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 17
  30. Lester J. Biederman: "Clemente Blasts 3 Triples, Knots Major Loop Mark," The Pittsburgh Press (Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 28. (This link in fact takes you to page one of the 9/6/58 issue. To get to the correct page, clear the contents of the page box, type in '143' and hit 'enter' on your keyboard.)
  31. "Clemente Blasts 3 Triples, Knots Major Loop Mark," The Uniontown Morning Herald (Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 17
  32. Lester J. Biederman: "Clemente Blasts 3 Triples, Knots Major Loop Mark," The Pittsburgh Press (Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 28. (This link in fact takes you to page one of the 9/6/58 issue. To get to the correct page, clear the contents of the page box, type in '143' and hit 'enter' on your keyboard.)
  33. George Esper: “Clemente Clouts Three Triples to Tie Major Record,” The Warren Times Mirror Tuesday, September 9, 1958), p. 9

Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente
The Toolbox
The ArmThe GloveThe LegsThe BatThe ClubThe Total Package
Roberto Clemente AwardRoberto Clemente Day
BooksNewspapers and Periodicals (full text) • TSN (full text by subscription only)