The seven foot tall statue of baseball legend Roberto Clemente was recently unveiled in Roberto Clemente State Park located in the Bronx, New York. It was created in bronze by sculptor Maritza Hernandez and is poised upon a base that stands four feet high and the entire sculpture weighs in an inspiring three thousand pounds.
The statue was presented by Goya Foods, the Hispanic foods giant, in memory of the fortieth anniversary of Clemente’s induction into professional baseball’s hall of fame. The statue re-enacts his appreciation for fan support just after getting his 3,000th milestone hit. Goya commissioned the work in honor of Clemente’s Puerto Rican heritage and is the first such statue of a notable Puerto Rican ever to be unveiled in the Big Apple.
Just as Jackie Robinson had blazed a trail, so did Clemente as he became the first true Latin American superstar in Major League Baseball. Clemente was beloved not only for his character and great skill as a ballplayer, but as a man who always took service to others seriously. His humanitarian pursuits were well known and he was killed in 1972 while trying to get relief supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake.
Goya announced its pride at being able to present such a work to the city of New York and to the recognition of the considerable contributions made by Latin American culture to the city as well as to the country.