Roberto Clemente is regarded as an extraordinary baseball player, a family man, and somebody who did whatever he could to help give back to the community. Now, a museum right here in the city of Pittsburgh, is doing what they can to help carry on Roberto Clemente’s legacy.
For most baseball fans in the area, they remember July 2006 as the last time an All-Star game was played in the city of Pittsburgh. However, it also served as the birth of a museum honoring Roberto Clemente after his wife and family came to visit.
“In 2006, she asked me if she could have her family party, and it was my first party, my event, and I built this whole room for her, for the party,” said Duana Rieder, Executive Director of the Roberto Clemente Museum. “And then she made a comment that it looks like a museum in here now, and I said wow, that sounds better than archive, and we did it. We decided the next day that we were going to start giving tours.”
And that is what they have continued to do for the last 12 years. Reider and his staff make sure everyone has a chance to learn about Clemente’s story, and see all of the different memorabilia, but most importantly, an opportunity to learn about the type of person Roberto was.
We bring kids that can’t afford to come in here on tours,” said Rieder. “Kids from the hill district and stuff. We bring groups down. We give them a little talk and we walk them around the museum and we try to inspire them a little bit on what we are doing here and what Roberto would want them to do as humans.”
On December 31, 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash. The baseball star was on his way to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Roberto was doing what he could to give back to the community with the ultimate dream of creating Sports City, a place where young Puerto Ricans could do more than just practice sports.
After his sudden death, it was his wife, Vera, who would make that dream a reality. And now the museum continues to support his family.
“Everything that we sell here, 12.5 percent goes to helping Vera Clemente,” said Reider. “And we feel good that we give back a little tiny bit. It’s not much, but it’s something.”