Smithsonian’s Roberto Clemente Exhibit Coming to Little League’s McGovern Museum
A traveling exhibit that chronicles the life of former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente will be on display at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum in South Williamsport for two months beginning in September.
The exhibit, “Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente,” was developed by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibit will be at the Museum from Sept. 18 to Nov. 14.
“It is our hope that visitors will appreciate the museum and Little League Baseball and Softball bringing the exhibit to the Susquehanna River Valley,” Janice L. Ogurcak, Museum Director, said. “We sincerely hope Little League teams will take advantage of our group rates and bring players and families here to enjoy the exhibit. Because the exhibit will be bilingual, it should be a great field trip for Spanish classes too.”
The exhibit will be the first at the museum to commemorate the Latin American player. A previous traveling exhibit from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., highlighted the history and contributions of African-American baseball players.
“We are announcing the Clemente exhibit now, so potential visitors can fit us into their fall schedule,” Ogurcak said.
A tribute to the 12-time All-Star’s outstanding achievements on and off the field, the exhibit includes photos and memorabilia that tell the story of the life of a man who was a dedicated humanitarian as well as one of the best players in Major League history.
The 1973 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, the first Latino American to earn the honor, Mr. Clemente rose to stardom with his accomplishments over an 18-year career with the Pirates, while never forgetting his heritage and the prejudice he faced. He fought for the recognition of his fellow Latino baseball players; helped people in need across the United States and Central America; and held free baseball clinics for children in his homeland.
His charitable work led to the creation of Sports City, a 304-acre athletic complex in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico, designed to help disadvantaged youth develop athletic skills and prevent illegal drug use.
Tragically, the 1966 National League MVP perished helping others. He died in 1972 on New Year's Eve when a relief plane overloaded with food, medical supplies, and clothes, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico. The plane was bound for survivors of a Nicaraguan earthquake.
Major League Baseball honored Mr. Clemente’s efforts on and off the field by putting his name on its annual award, in 1973, which recognizes the MLB player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. The 2009 Roberto Clemente Award winner was New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, a Little League graduate.
The museum plans to extend its hours during the eight weeks the Clemente exhibit will be on display. It seasonally is open Fridays and Saturdays starting in September. Please contact the museum at (570) 326-3607 for the up-to-date schedule. Other times will be available through group appointments.
Roberto Clemente wore No. 21 throughout his Major League baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. On three occasions, Little League International honored Mr. Clemente's memory during Tee Ball Games on the South Lawn of the White House by displaying his number on the outfield fence.