Astros visit Roberto Clemente Museum
Roberto Clemente Jr. is grateful Astros visited Clemente Museum
Roberto Clemente Jr. was grateful that the defending World Series champion Astros took time out to visit the Roberto Clemente Museum on Tuesday.
Before the second game of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, Astros catcher Martin Maldonado set up the tour. Manager Dusty Baker and most of the coaching staff and players attended.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Roberto Clemente Jr. said. “I think it’s very special that they wanted to show up.”
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The Astros’ visit occurred only a few days after the 50th anniversary of the Pirates’ retiring Clemente’s No. 21. The Clemente Museum embraces and highlights the legacy of “The Great One.”
Roberto Clemente Museum honors Great One’s legacy
Clemente, the first Latino elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, was one of the greatest players in history. The Puerto Rican icon’s legacy, however, was made as much for how he died as how he lived.
The Pittsburgh Pirates great died on Dec. 31, 1972, when his cargo plane crashed into the ocean soon after takeoff in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 15-time All-Star boarded the cargo plane with relief supplies for earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
The museum highlights Clemente’s wonderful baseball career not just on the field, but off the field as well.
“It’s a special place for sure,” Clemente Jr. said. “If you’re a Clemente fan, it is a place that you must take part of and take a tour of the museum.”
The two-time World Series champion was well known for his humanitarianism.
Life defined by giving
When Clemente returned home to Puerto Rico, he would bring back baseball equipment such as bats, baseballs and gloves for disadvantaged children.
“It just goes to show it’s not about who he was as a player because I truly believe that is secondary to what the Clemente name means,” Roberto Jr. said. “The Clemente name means goodwill.
“That’s something that’s very palpable. People get emotional. That’s how they felt when they watched him play. They were watching him play but it meant something more. People get connected to the story on the humanitarian side. That’s how people get engaged with the story and then become fans of the man.”
Clemente shared his knowledge of the game by organizing free baseball clinics and teaching kids the importance of becoming great human beings.
The 1966 National League MVP also raised money to help many citizens around the United States as well as the countries of Latin America.
For Astros bench coach Joe Espada, a fellow Puerto Rican, it was his third visit to the museum.
“It reminds us (of) what Roberto Clemente stood for, respect and generosity,” Espada said of the tour.
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