Life was good for local supporters of Play Ball Puerto Rico as they helped Louisville Slugger celebrate the unveiling of a statue of Roberto Clemente to become a permanent part of the Slugger Museum!
The group came to downtown Louisville on a beautifully sunny morning August 18th. Visitors of the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum included local news crews and a contingent of the Puerto Rican community in Kentucky. Roberto Clemente is remembered as a humanitarian as much as he was a baseball player.
Clemente’s two sons, Luis and Roberto Jr. were taken aback by the statue’s unveiling which happened on the day that would have been their father’s 87th birthday.
“To see the details in this was amazing,” said Luis Clemente. “His stare, he was very intense, and they captured that.” Both sons offered tribute and thanks to Slugger Museum as well as their mother would supported and nurtured them during their lives. It was an emotional and Luis said “heartfelt thanks”.
Clemente was a native of Puerto Rico. In Major League Baseball he is respected as becoming the first Latin American player to accomplish a variety of feats: including win a 1971 World Series as a starter, earn a league MVP, Golden Glove awards and be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Clemente also is certainly known, however, for his legacy as a humanitarian. In the offseason, he’d often fly needed supplies to Puerto Rico.
On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente accompanied a small delegation with a plane full of supplies to the country. Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed, which killed Clemente and four others.