The San Juan Daily Star
Roberto Clemente added to list of Puerto Rican heroes
By John McPhaul
Roberto Clemente Walker will be added to the list of Puerto Rican heroes after Gov. Pedro Pierlusi Urrutia signed Law 61-2022, filed by Rep. Eladio “Layito” Cardona Quiles, it was reported on Thursday.
The initiative provides for the inclusion of the name of Roberto Clemente Walker in the Day of the Men and Women “Proceres” (Heroes) of Puerto Rico. House Bill 991 -- which Rep. Ángel Matos García joined as co-author -- would add Clemente to the list of illustrious Puerto Ricans such as Eugenio María de Hostos and Ana Roqué de Duprey, so that on the third Monday of February every year his life, work and legacy are commemorated.
“Every Puerto Rican and every Puerto Rican should know the work and legacy of Roberto Clemente, not only because of his sports career, but also because of all the contributions and help that he brought to those most in need,” said Cardona Quiles, who chairs the Recreation and Sports Committee of the House of Representatives, in a written statement. “For this reason I introduced this bill, so that future generations know and commemorate the sublime legacy of this illustrious Puerto Rican.”
The law provides that the central government, through the departments of Education and Recreation & Sports, as well as public entities and municipalities, will be in charge of commemorating, promulgating, disseminating and preserving Clemente’s work, career, life and legacy.
Clemente played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, in which he reached 3,000 hits, with 1,305 runs scored, 240 home runs and a career batting average of .300.
In addition, he was a two-time World Series champion, won four batting titles, played 15 times in the All-Star Game, won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves, was the Most Valuable Player of the National League in 1966 and was the 1971 World Series MVP.
Clemente died in a plane crash off the coast of his native Carolina on Dec. 31, 1972 while attempting to deliver earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua.
He was posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1973, two years after Major League Baseball instituted the Roberto Clemente Award, which is awarded annually to players who perform outstanding work in sports and the community.