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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Did you know: 59 years ago...

By Mark Saxon

On this date in 1954, the Dodgers signed a lanky Puerto Rican outfielder name Roberto Clemente to a Triple-A contract. It cost them $5,000 in salary and a $10,000 signing bonus.

That summer, the 19-year old Clemente batted .257 in 87 games for the Montreal Royals and the Dodgers left him unprotected before the Rule 5 Draft. In swooped Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Branch Rickey, who selected Clemente and launched a Hall of Fame career with the Pirates.

Clemente’s major-league debut came on April 17, 1955. He went 3-for-8 with a double and two runs scored against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Those were the first three of his 3,000 career hits.