Age: 38 (Aug. 18, 1934 – Dec. 31, 1972)
Cause of Death: Airplane crash

When Clemente recorded his 3,000th hit in his final regular-season at-bat of the 1972 season, there was no indication it would be his last. He had just batted .312, and showed no sign of decline, despite the fact that he had reached 38 years of age.

But when Nicaragua was hit by an earthquake in December of 1972, Clemente felt compelled to act., and almost immediately arranged to go to Nicaragua to provide relief. He took off on New Year’s Eve in 1972, and never returned. His plane crashed, and all five passengers on the plane were killed.

MLB now awards the Roberto Clemente Award to the player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual's contribution to his team." The award, which was originally called the Commissioner's Award, was re-named for Clemente in 1973.