Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, Nov 29 (EFE).- The awards won by Puerto Rican baseball player and Major League star Roberto Clemente (1934-1972), including his Most Valuable Player plaque for the 1971 World Series, are now on display in an exhibit on the island.
“This is a complete review of his career as a baseball player,” Luis Roberto Clemente, one of the ballplayer’s three sons, during a visit to the new exhibition at the Sports Museum of Puerto Rico.
Another outstanding item of Clemente memorabilia that is on display at the museum in Guaynabo, a municipality near San Juan, is the Gold Glove he won in 1966.
There are also a pair of socks he used when he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates – where he was for 18 seasons from 1955-1972 – and one of the bats that he used on the night he hit his 3,000th hit.
All these items in the collection, which belongs to the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will be on exhibit in Puerto Rico until January 2023.
The idea for the exposition on Clemente’s home island is for it to travel around the island so that people all over Puerto Rico can see them in various cities.
In addition to the historic pieces pertaining to Clemente, the museum is also showing a wooden mural with a chronology of his life along with other works of art, including one created by Puerto Rican urban artist Don Rmix.
Next to the main hall there is another hall devoted to Vera Zabala (1941-2019), with whom Clemente had three sons, an exhibit pertaining to the last 10 years of her life representing the family and the charitable work she did with the Roberto Clemente Foundation.
There, according to what Luis Roberto told EFE, is the most important item presented to the family – the Presidential Medal of Freedom that his mother received at the White House in 2003 from the hand of then-President George W. Bush.
This award, according to the White House, serves to honor the work of people who have made especially meritorious contributions to US national security, national interests or world peace, or who have had a significant cultural, public or private career.
“My father was a unique person, a person who brought much glory to this country, but about whom people can learn what it is to be a really good human being,” Luis Roberto said.
“That is, what’s our mission as a human being. That’s contained in my father’s entire life. So, many people, although they never played sports, tell me that they’ve copied his life as a guide for everyone,” he said.
Roberto Clemente, the first Latino to get 3,000 hits in the Major Leagues and selected 15 times to play in the All-Star Game, lost his life on New Year’s Day 1972 in a plane crash when he was bringing aid to the victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua.
The Major Leagues in 1973 renamed a philanthropic award in his honor.