1971 Topps #630 Roberto Clemente PSA 9 MINT - Only One PSA Example Graded Higher!
MINT CLEMENTE!!! Amazing to say the least, PSA has encapsulated 4,300+ Roberto Clemente 1971 Topps subjects with only a single specimen managing to receive the hallowed PSA 10 GEM MINT grade, and this exalted PSA 9 offering is one of only sixteen examples at the likewise sanctified MINT assessment. Its esteemed stature stands at such a prodigious level that it just happens to be the EXACT SAME CARD that sold for a momentous $66K only a year ago in January 2023. Who could have possibly known that the immortal Roberto Clemente would play only one more season after 1971, for in one of our National Pastime's saddest events, he would tragically die in a plane crash on December 31, 1972 at the tender age of 38, flying to Nicaragua to assist earthquake victims.
He was so loved by so many that even one of his closest friends, Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen, missed Clemente's memorial service, choosing instead to dive into the frigid waters of the Atlantic in an effort to find the body of his beloved teammate. Joining other sports icons who lost their lives in plane crashes (such as Rocky Marciano and Knute Rockne), his devastating fatality has actually increased his popularity profoundly. Soon thereafter, Clemente would immediately be placed in baseball's HOF, becoming the first Latin American/Caribbean player to receive that honor. One of the greatest right fielders in baseball history, Clemente could hit, run, throw and field at a pinnacle level, becoming the 11th member of the elusive 3,000th hit club when he roped a Jon Matlack pitch into left-center field for a double on September 30, 1972, the final regular season hit of his spectacular career.
He would also throttle the Baltimore Orioles in the 1971 World Series via his batting and fielding exploits, capturing the Series MVP Award the year this revered card was issued. An absolutely breathtaking Clemente batting pose graces the front, revealing sparkling hues and sharp resolution as Roberto showcases a classic practice swing. Most significantly, the super fragile black borders have retained virtually all their original vitality, with only an extremely faint microscopic chip along the outermost left edge possibly preventing the perfect 10 grade. Excellent centering, pinpoint corners and pristine surfaces are the final compliments for this 52-year-old marvel that conjures up vivid memories of Clemente's resounding quote: "When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth!"
MIN BID $7,500