Roberto Clemente Baseball Stadium in Masaya
Located in Masaya, Nicaragua, the Roberto Clemente Stadium is a baseball stadium named in honor of Puerto Rican baseball hero, Roberto Clemente, who was killed in a plane crash traveling from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua with relief supplies for victims of the devastating earthquake that wrought havoc in Managua in 1972. An estimated 5,000 of Managua’s residents lost their lives in the earthquake, while around 20,000 were injured and more than 250,000 were left homeless. Having visited Managua just three weeks before, Clemente took the initiative to send relief supplies to the city which had made him so welcome, but upon hearing that the first three shipments had not reached their intended recipients, but instead had been taken by corrupt Somoza government officials, he decided to accompany the fourth shipment to Nicaragua. The Douglas DC-7, which it was later learned had a history of mechanical problems, crashed into the ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico’s Isla Verde. Clemente’s body was never recovered.
Roberto Clemente was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on 18 August 1934 and enjoyed a successful Major League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates over eighteen seasons between 1955 and 1972. Among his many notable achievements, he was awarded the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1966 and was on the National League All-Star team fifteen times, leading the NL in batting average four times. He received 12 Gold Glove Awards and in 1972 scored his 3,000th major league hit.
Clemente was the first Latin American to be selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which took place posthumously in 1973. He was also the first Latin American to win a World Series as a starter, which he did in 1960, and to receive a Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, which he received in 1966, as well as being the first Hispanic player to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971). He was an inspiration to young Latin Americans both on the field and off, as he was involved in charity work in his home country, as well as other Latin American countries, delivering food and baseball equipment to communities in need.
In addition to the Roberto Clemente Stadium in Masaya, other public places named in the legendary player’s honor include two baseball parks in his hometown Carolina, the Roberto Clemente Memorial Park in Pittsburgh; the Roberto Clemente State Park in New York City; the Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago; the Roberto Clemente Charter School in Allentown, Pennsylvania; the Roberto Clemente Middle School in New Haven, Connecticut; and the Roberto W. Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Maryland. In 1984 the US Postal Service issued a postage stamp featuring Clemente, and in 2010 he was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.