Hola amigos: The Hall of Fame is honoring one of our baseball heroes: Roberto Clemente. He was a great athlete and human being and not only is honored by the Hall Of Fame but by Broadway. His life is being celebrated in an Off-Broadway musical: “DC-7, the Roberto Clemente Story.” Clemente died in a plane crash while trying to deliver aid to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve 1972.
Roberto Clemente Image
By James Gauger
Philadelphia Sports Examiner
The Hall of Fame pays homage to the homeland of four of it’s beloved heroes. The Hall of Fame calls Roberto Clemente, Roberto Alomar, Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez, Puerto Rico’s Baseball royalty.”Philadelphia Sports Examiner
Clemente, the Bucs’ legendary right fielder who wore No. 21, died in a New Year‘s Eve plane crash in 1972. As baseball fans know, Clemente was on a mission of mercy that night, delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
The Baseball Writers Association of America waived its five-year rule and voted Clemente into the Hall of Fame the next year. In an 18-year career with the Pirates, he batted .317 and finished with exactly 3,000 hits. He was an All-Star, a Gold Glover and the first Hispanic player to be voted into the Hall.
Clemente was born in Carolina, 12 miles southeast of the capital city of Puerto Rico, San Juan, on August 18, 1934.
Clemente was a man of charisma and wonderful athletic ability. This week, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown announced a unique honor for Clemente and three other Major League players from Puerto Rico. The Hall of Fame calls Clemente, Roberto Alomar, Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez “Puerto Rico’s baseball royalty.”
According to a press release, the players’ “Hall of Fame plaques will leave their home in Cooperstown to travel to Puerto Rico, from December 16-19, as the Hall of Fame pays homage to the homeland of four of its beloved heroes.”
The four-day visit to cities across the commonwealth of Puerto Rico will mark the first time in the 73-year history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum that more than two Hall of Fame plaques have traveled simultaneously.
The Museum is expanding its outreach in Latin America “by providing an exclusive opportunity to the fans of Puerto Rico in the year in which Alomar was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Hosted in conjunction with Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico in Guaynabo, the visit of the four Hall of Fame plaques will include public showings in Guaynabo, Guayama, Salinas and Ponce.
“The baseball fans of Puerto Rico are among the best in the world,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in the press release. “In celebrating the induction of one of their heroes this summer, Roberto Alomar, we are honored to share some of Cooperstown with the passionate baseball fans of Puerto Rico. The love they have for their game and their stars is truly unmatched. We are very appreciative to our friends at Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico for making our visit possible.”
A private event and unveiling of the plaques will take place at the Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico on Friday, December 16, at 5 p.m. and will feature a special evening hosted by the Museo featuring Puerto Rican dignitaries, former and current players.
“The contributions of Puerto Ricans to the game of baseball are seen all around the world, but no more so than at the home of baseball in Cooperstown,” said Rafi Serrano, Executive Director of Museo del Deporte de Puerto Rico. “For generations, Puerto Rican influence has touched the Hall of Fame. Now, a part of the Hall of Fame is coming to Puerto Rico. We are thrilled to honor these native sons who have left an indelible mark on the game.”
According to the press release, this marks only the third time a Hall of Fame plaque has traveled outside the continental U.S. The Hall of Fame previously traveled Roberto Clemente’s plaque in 2000 to Puerto Rico and Juan Marichal’s plaque to the Dominican Republic in 2008.
For more information about the Hall of Fame, go to baseballhall.org. David Maraniss’ 2006 book, “Clemente, The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero” is a recommended read.