Saturday, October 24, 2015

Historic Figure: Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker - Cooperstown, NY

Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker
Cooperstown, NY

N 42° 42.003 W 074° 55.389

Short Description: 

A statue of Roberto Clemente is the third of three on display in the lobby of the National Baseball Hall of Fame at 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY. Each person was a model of character and courage, each in their own way.

Long Description:

A life size bronze statue of Roberto Clemente depicts the Hall of Fame right fielder wearing his Pittsburgh Pirates uniform, a team for which he played for his entire 18 season major league career (1955 - 1972). Clemente is standing with his legs slightly spread on a circular bronze plinth. He has his right hand placed on top of a baseball bat and his left hand behind his back. The barrel end of the bat rests on the plinth in front of his left foot.

The sign explains the purpose of the display:

                         CHARACTER AND COURAGE
                         Cast bronzes by Stanley Bleifeld

Becoming a Hall of Famer takes more than just a great baseball
career. Off-the-field challenges -- and how those challengers are
met -- reveal an inner character that serves men and women
throughout their lives. The life experiences of Lou Gerhig,
Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente stand out above all.
Each faced personal and social obstacles with strength and
dignity that set an example of character and courage for all
others to follow.

Made possible through a generous donation by Robert Crotty

Roberto Clemente was born on August 18, 1934 in Carolina, Puerto Rico. He joined the Pittsburgh Pirate organization after playing professionally for the Santurce Cangrejeros. He became an National League All Star player NL All-Star (1960–1967, 1969–1972) and Golden Glove winner (1961–1972) multiple times and led the league in batting average four times (1961, 1964, 1965, 1967).

Clemente would perform charity work during the off-season. After a massive earthquake devastated Managua, Nicaragua on December 23, 1972, he arranging emergency relief flights. He flew on the fourth flight to insure the supplies were actually reaching the people of Nicaragua. On December 31, 1972, the Douglas DC-7 cargo plane crashed on take off from Isle Verde, Puerto Rico. All aboard were killed and Clemente's body was never recovered.

On March 30, 1973, the usual 12 year waiting period was waived and, in a special election, Roberto Clemente was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Roberto Clemente Award is given out every year to a player with outstanding baseball playing skills who is personally involved in community work.

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