Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker of the Pittsburgh Pirates, legendary for his skills on the baseball field as well as his humanitarian work off the field, left a legacy rich in excellence and generosity.
His time on earth was cut short by a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while on a flight serving earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Problems with the plane resulted in it crashing in the Atlantic shortly after taking off from an airfield in Loiza, Puerto Rico, killing the 38-year-old Puerto Rican native and four others.
Now Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto would like to honor the award-winning Baseball Hall of Famer. Together with Councilor Corey O’Connor, Mr. Peduto has applied to the US Department of the Interior to recognize Clemente’s place of death in Loiza by adding it to the national register of historic places.
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Remembering the beginning of things is important, but so is thinking about the end. Clemente’s life is a great example of what a man with good intentions can accomplish in an all too short life. Allocating the area to his prestigious water grave status will honor his memory and further build the bridge between Puerto Rico and Pittsburgh, both of which were important places in Clemente’s life.
The presence of the former pirate can still be felt across the city: on the Sixth Street Bridge, which connects downtown to PNC Park, is his statue on the north side, the museum dedicated to his memory in Lawrenceville. His community efforts and his free youth clinics, as well as his humanitarian efforts, resulted in the Commissioner’s Award, which recognizes players for athleticism and community engagement, being renamed the Roberto Clemente Award.
Mr Peduto and Mr O’Connor are right to press for this type of recognition and the Home Office should act immediately on the petition. – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette