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Roberto Clemente’s Tragic Death 37 Anniversary Memorial and Observance in Bridgport

Roberto Clemente’s Tragic Death 37 Anniversary Memorial and Observance in Bridgport

Roberto Clemente’s Tragic Death 37 Anniversary Memorial and Observance in Bridgport 

HALL OF FAME BASEBALL PLAYER ROBERTO CLEMENTE WILL BE HONORED AND REMEMBERED ON THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31, THE 37TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS TRAGIC DEATH IN A PLANE CRASH.

A CEREMONY COMMEMORATING THE BASEBALL LEGEND WILL BE HELD AT SEASIDE PARK’S DIAMOND #10, NEAR A MONUMENT ERECTED IN CLEMENTE’S HONOR.  THE EVENT, SPONSORED BY AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE (FRIENDS OF CLEMENTE) WILL GET UNDERWAY AT NOON. 

ALL ARE INVITED.

AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE, A GROUP OF BRIDGEPORT AREA BASEBALL FANS AND CLEMENTE DEVOTEES, HAS MEMORIALIZED CLEMENTE’S DEATH EACH YEAR ON DECEMBER 31 FOR OVER A QUARTER OF A CENTURY.  THE ORGANIZATION IS DEDICATED TO RECOGNIZING CLEMENTE’S LEGACY AS A HUMANITARIAN AND A BASEBALL SUPERSTAR, AND TO PERPETUATING HIS MEMORY.

ON DECEMBER 31, 1972, CLEMENTE WAS ABOARD A CARGO PLANE, WHICH WAS BRINGING RELIEF SUPPLIES TO THE VICTIMS OF A NICARAGUAN EARTHQUAKE.  THE PLANE CRASHED INTO THE SEA, AND ALL PERISHED.  ROBERTO CLEMENTE WAS 38 YEARS OLD.

WILFREDO MATOS, A SPOKESMAN FOR AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE, EXPLAINED:  “WHEN WE HONOR ROBERTO CLEMENTE EACH DECEMBER 31, WE PAY OUR RESPECTS NOT ONLY TO THE SELFLESS AND HEROIC WAY IN WHICH HE DIED, BUT TO THE COURAGEOUS WAY IN WHICH HE CHOSE TO LIVE, AND THE ROLE MODEL HE HAS BECOME.

“WE HONOR A MAN WHO OVERCAME BOTH RACISM AND LANGUAGE, TO BECOME AN ACKNOWLEDGED SUPERSTAR WHO WAS ALWAYS WILLING TO GIVE OF HIMSELF, AND DIED WHILE ON A MISSION OF MERCY,” MATOS STATED.

THE 2008 CEREMONY TOOK PLACE DURING A SIGNIFICANT SNOW STORM WHICH BLANKETED SEASIDE PARK AND ALL OF THE ACCESS ROADS. “WE DO NOT ALLOW THE WEATHER, NO MATTER HOW HAZARDOUS TO CANCEL THIS CEREMONY.  IF ROBERTO CLEMENTE WAS WILLING TO LEAVE THE COMFORTS OF HIS HOME AND FAMILY ON NEW YEAR’S EVE TO RIDE IN THE REAR OF A CARGO PLANE, THEN WE CAN BRAVE BAD WEATHER TO HONOR HIS MEMORY,” SAID DIMAS MARQUEZ, SR., ANOTHER MEMBER OF AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE.

AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE, IN ADDITION TO THE ANNUAL OBSERVANCE OF CLEMENTE’S DEATH, SPONSORED A SOFTBALL AND BASEBALL TOURNAMENT LAST SUMMER, AN ACTIVITY WHICH IT IS HOPED WILL BECOME AN ANNUAL EVENT. 

THE GROUP WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN CONVINCING THE BRIDGEPORT PARK COMMISSION TO NAME A DIAMOND AT WENDT FIELD IN HONOR OF GREGORIO PACHECO, IN APPRECIATION FOR HIS LABOR OF LOVE ON BEHALF OF BRIDGEPORT’S YOUTH. IT ALSO PARTICIPATED IN THE 2008 CLEMENTE NIGHT SPONSORED BY THE BRIDGEPORT BLUEFISH.  IT HAS SUPPORTED THE NATIONAL EFFORT AIMED AT CONVINCING MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER ALAN “BUD” SELIG TO RETIRE NUMBER 21, THE NUMBER WORN BY ROBERTO CLEMENTE DURING EIGHTEEN SEASONS WITH THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES.

FORMER SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CARMEN L. LOPEZ, WHO HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN THE RETIRE #21 CAMPAIGN, LAUDED CLEMENTE AS A “RARE SUPERSTAR ATHLETE WHO USED HIS CELEBRITY TO HELP PEOPLE, AND WHOSE DIGNITY, PRIDE, CHARACTER AND PERSONAL INTEGRITY MARKED HIM AS A ROLE MODEL WE WOULD ALL DO WELL TO EMULATE.

“IF COMMISSIONER SELIG CAN BE CONVINCED TO RETIRE NUMBER 21, THE ACT WILL ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE GREATNESS OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE WILL BE DISCOVERED IN THE HISTORY BOOKS, NOT THE BASEBALL RECORD BOOKS,” LOPEZ DECLARED.

LAST YEAR, THE BRIDGEPORT COMMON COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED A RESOLUTION URGING MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO RETIRE NUMBER 21, AS A TRIBUTE TO CLEMENTE.

DURING HIS BASEBALL CAREER, ROBERTO CLEMENTE COLLECTED 3,000 HITS, WON FOUR NATIONAL LEAGUE BATTING TITLES, AND WAS AWARDED TWELVE GOLD GLOVE AWARDS.  HE WAS THE NATIONAL LEAGUE’S MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN 1966, AND THE MVP OF THE 1971 WORLD SERIES, IN WHICH PITTSBURGH DEFEATED THE HIGHLY FAVORED BALTIMORE ORIOLES.

HE WAS ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME IN 1973, BECOMING ONLY THE SECOND PLAYER FOR WHOM THE MANDATORY FIVE-YEAR WAITING PERIOD WAS WAIVED.

AMIGOS DE CLEMENTE MEMORIAL SERVICE

AT SEASIDE PARK, DIAMOND 10, DECEMBER 31, 2009 AT NOON.

CONTACT WILLIE MATOS (203)330-1822

 

 


About William Gerena-Rochet

Born in Santurce (San Juan), Puerto Rico arrived in New York City at the age of 7. Graduated from the High School of Art and Design and Started College in San German, Puerto Rico and studied there for one year; received A.A. from Bronx Community College; B.A. from Lehman College where he met Latino Sports founder Julio Pabón. Got his Master’s Degree in Secondary Education from Teacher's College. Worked in the NYC public school and officially retired in 1996. Came on board Latino Sports in 2006, just prior to the first World Baseball Classic. Helped build the website with editing and content and hopes to see it reach its full potential.

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