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New Statue of Roberto Clemente Unveiled in the Bronx

by Stephanie Colombini
A A
The Clemente family with sculptor Maritza Hernandez as the statue is unveiled

Stephanie Colombini

New York's first statue of a Puerto Rican legend is of Baseball Hall of Fame member and humanitarian Roberto Clemente.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Roberto Clemente's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The Bronx celebrated by unveiling a new life-size statue of the player at Roberto Clemente State Park in Tremont. 

Roberto Clemente had over three thousand hits playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Off-the-field, he was known for his humanitarian work, especially within the Hispanic community.  He died in a plane crash in 1972 en route to Nicaragua, where he was travelling to personally deliver aid supplies to earthquake victims.

According to the state Parks Department, this is the first statue of a Puerto Rican legend constructed in New York.  Carmen Fernandez grew up in the Bronx and is writing a book about Clemente's legacy.  She says it's about's time a Puerto Rican got immortalized in New York.

"That this is the first boricua to be memorialized in a statue, to me, is just mindboggling."

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was also at the unveiling ceremony.  He says the Hispanic community needs this statue now more than ever.
 
"Unfortunately, in our communities, we see A - that our children don't have too many heroes; and B - those that are worthy of being heroes are forgotten too quickly."
 
 Diaz says he hopes the statue will inspire others to carry out Clemente's message to serve. 
 
 
 

 

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