On the 47th anniversary of Roberto Clemente’s passing, I decided to put together a list of his 21 greatest single game performances. This isn’t a list of greatest moments, so you won’t see the 3,000 hit game below. He went 1-for-2 in that game and left after five innings. This is based strictly on his performance, though for similar games as I got near the end of the list, I used the ones where the Pittsburgh Pirates won as the tiebreaker.
The list is in chronological order and I linked to the Baseball-Reference boxscore for each game on the date.
5-29-1955: His first five-hit game, which happened in his 33rd career game. Also the first of only two games in his career with three doubles. Clemente only played the first seven innings of the game.
7-25-1956: The first of many times that the Great One drove in five runs in a game. He ended the game with a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam. Only time that has been accomplished in baseball history. He drove in four runs during the previous day in a game that just missed making this list.
5-26-1957: Pirates win 13-5 over Phillies, as Clemente has four hits and drive in five runs.
9-8-1958: In a 4-1 win over the Reds, Clemente hits three triples in a game for the only time in his career.
4-14-1960: His only game from the magical 1960 season to make the list. Clemente went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a sacrifice fly and five RBIs during Opening Day at Forbes Field.
5-24-1961: In a 7-3 win over the Cubs, Clemente hits a solo homer and a three-run homer.
7-6-1961: In a 15-3 win over the Cubs, Clemente scored four runs for the first time in his career. He drove in five, doubled, homered and walked.
8-3-1961: His only five-hit game from the season in which he won his first batting title. Pirates won 19-0 over Cardinals. Clemente ties his career best with four runs scored.
6-30-1962: Pirates put up 17 runs on the Cardinals and Clemente contributes with four hits and five RBIs. He had a double, homer and three runs scored. Smoky Burgess was actually the big bat in this game for the Pirates, driving in seven runs while batting right behind Clemente in the order.
8-1-1965: In a 3-1 win over the Cubs, Clemente goes 2-for-2 with a career best three walks, reaching base in all five plate appearances.
7-6-1966: One of two games here from his MVP season. In a 10-5 win over the Cubs, Clemente hits a double, homer and drives in five runs.
8-7-1966: A 4-for-5, two home run, five RBI game couldn’t keep the Pirates from losing to the Reds 9-7.
5-15-1967: His best career game. Clemente hit three homers, a double and drove in seven runs, which is his career best. It’s probably surprising to find out that the Reds won this game 8-7.
6-4-1967: In a 4-1 win over the Dodgers, Clemente does all of the damage. He hit a solo homer and a three-run homer off of Don Drysdale.
9-13-1967: A 5-for-6 day at Crosley Field in front of 4,966 fans. He had a homer, double, two runs scored and four RBIs.
7-13-1968: Clemente goes 5-for-7 with a triple and a walk in an extra-inning contest. One of three times in his career that he reached base six times in a game.
8-13-1969: A 4-for-5 day with three homers, four runs scored and four RBIs. This is his second of two career three home run games.
7-3-1970: In a 16-14 win at Wrigley Field, Clemente went 3-for-5 with two homers, three runs scored, four RBIs and a walk.
7-4-1970: One day later, Clemente hits two homers in back-to-back games for the only time in his career. He had four hits, three runs, three RBIs.
8-23-1970: One day after collecting five hits, Clemente does it again, giving him ten hits in back-to-back games. Pirates won 11-0 over the Dodgers. He hit two homers and drove in three runs.
8-25-1971: The final five-hit game of his career, he also scored three runs in a 13-6 win over the Braves. He would hit .341 in his next-to-last season.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.