NEWARK - On Sunday, June 3, 2012, Mayor Cory A. Booker, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Council Member-at-Large Luis A. Quintana and members of the Newark Municipal Council, members of the Roberto Clemente Monument Committee, Roberto Clemente’s widow Vera Zavala Clemente, his son Luis Roberto Clemente, famed sculptor Susan Wagner, and community residents honored the life and legacy of the baseball legend and humanitarian who died 40 years ago by unveiling a statue of Roberto Clemente at the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Lake Street in Newark’s North Ward. The statue that was unveiled was a replica of the 12-foot tall bronze sculpture that Ms. Wagner created to stand in front of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home, PNC Park, in Pittsburgh.
“It is great that we are giving honor to a man who has given so much honor, as an athlete and a humanitarian. It’s a day for the whole city. It’s a day for all the children. Viva Roberto Clemente!” Mayor Booker said.
Roberto Clemente Walker played 18 years in the majors for the Pirates. Among his accomplishments were a lifetime .317 batting average, 3,000 career hits, and being named the NL MVP in 1966 and World Series MVP in 1971.
Clemente tragically lost his life in a plane crash while flying to Nicaragua to provide aid to those affected by an earthquake in Nicaragua. Months, later, Major League Baseball took the bold step to vote Clemente into the Hall of
Fame, waiving the traditional waiting period.
Clemente was the prototype for a five-tool player, the classification for a star who has speed, fields his position well (Clemente is considered the greatest defensive right-fielder to play in the majors), has a powerful arm, hits for average, and hits for power. However, his biggest asset was undoubtedly his heart.