On December 16, Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) introduced complementary Senate and House resolutions to recognize the historical significance of the place near Piñones in Loiza, Puerto Rico, where baseball legend Roberto Clemente died. The resolution would add this location to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Roberto Clemente not only made his mark on the game of baseball as a Puerto Rican professional baseball right fielder, but he also left behind a legacy for his advocacy and commitment to the equitable treatment of Latino and Black baseball players,” said Sen. Menendez. “Clemente’s story is a true American story, and that’s why I am proud to be leading this resolution in the Senate.”
Soto added, “Clemente once said, ‘Anytime you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.’ From his efforts to reform American baseball to his humanitarian work, he demonstrated that he practiced what he preached and dedicated his life to helping others overcome adversity. Though his life was tragically cut short, we will keep fighting to keep his spirit alive.”
Clemente was born on August 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico.
Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League in Major League Baseball from 1955 until he entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1958. He completed his duties as a Marine in 1964,and continued to play for the Pirates for 18 seasons. He was an All-Star choice 15 times, and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1971 World Series. He had 3,000 hits during his career, and 240 home runs. He was the first Latino ball player inducted into the Major League Hall of Fame.
Roberto Clemente was known almost as much for his humanitarian activity as for his baseball prowess. He gave free baseball clinics for young players and donated generously to education in Puerto Rico.
On December 31, 1972, he was flying to Nicaragua, taking essential supplies in response to a massive earthquake. His plane went down in the ocean and Clemente’s life ended.
Supporters of the Congressional Resolutions
Cosponsors of the Senate resolution include Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Soto is joined by Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon (R-PR) as cosponsors on his proposal.