According to an official of Roberto Clemente State Park, the 3,000 pound bronze likeness, commissioned and donated by Goya Foods, is the city's first statue erected in tribute to a person of Puerto Rican heritage, the New York Daily News reports.
The statue, cast by sculptor Maritza Hernandez, captures Clemente thanking fans after his 3,000th hit, the report further said.
At the unveiling of the statue, president of Goya Foods Bob Unanue said that Clemente will always be remembered and they hope that his spirit of giving will encourage and inspire others to do the same.
Expressing their honour to receive the statue, park director Frances Rodriguez further said that the significance is great because Clemente was a true humanitarian, who truly cared about other people.
The dedication of the statue takes place 40 years after Clemente became a member of the Hall of Fame, the same year the riverside park, originally called Harlem River Park, that now bears his name, was built.
Stating that the statue is a great way for the children playing in the park to find out about Clemente, the legend's son Roberto Clemente Jr said that after seeing the statue, people will learn not only about Clemente the player, but also the human being behind that facade.
The report further said that Clemente, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the first Latin-American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and the first to play in a World Series game, and finished his career with his 3,000th hit in his final regular season at-bat in 1972.
The star, who was known as much for his humanitarian efforts in the off-season as for his work in right field, tragically died at the age of 38 in a airplane crash in 1972, while he was on his way to Nicaragua to ensure that aid was being properly delivered to earthquake victims.
Clemente was posthumously awarded a Congressional medal of honor for his work, the report added.
--ANI (Posted on 28-06-2013)