We have a park on Middlesex Street that is one of the most actively used parks in the city: Clemente Park—Roberto Clemente Park, named for the Hall of Fame outfielder of the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the most revered Latino sports figures.
In today’s NYTimes, Clemente is remembered in contrast to what is expected to be a major celebration of NY Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter reaching the Olympian-level of 3,000 hits for a major league ballplayer. The Times’ Tyler Kepner reviews Clemente’s career and describes the understated September day in 1972 when Clemente got his 3000th hit. It was his last at-bat of the season. He died a few months later in a plane crash on a humanitarian mission to bring supplies to Nicaragua after an earthquake there. Among his posthumous civic honors are the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1984, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp as a tribute to his character and achievements.
With the renovation of Lowell’s Clemente Park in progress, I’m looking forward to seeing in the park a fitting remembrance of one of baseball’s great players and an individual who can inspire future generations.