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it comes to baseball, but no one rivals Clemente when it comes to humanitarianism. His legacy might be of his 3,000 hits or cannon right arm, but Clemente did all he could to show people what life is really about: giving back. The Orange County Regional History Center decided to dedicate a whole exhibit to Clemente’s life. It focused on Clemente’s work off the baseball diamond, unlike many other Clemente tributes before. While walking through the exhibit, it is hard not to get wrapped up in the phenomenon of Clemente’s work. “I feel baseball has played a big role in the history of central Florida, but with so many teams moving their spring training to Arizona, I thought it was important to try to preserve some of the past," said the program manager, Michael Perkins. "The board votes and decides what exhibits we are going to showcase, and almost everyone felt the way I did.” Roberto Clemente was born in 1934, in Puerto Rico. He broke into the Major Leagues in 1955, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He quickly became know for his speed and great throwing arm and accumulated twelve gold gloves and a most valuable player award. Clemente spent his offseasons in various Latin American countries volunteering to help and feed the poor natives. He also opened many free baseball clinics for youths. His generosity is what led to his death in 1972. Days after a devastating earthquake left 5,000 dead and 250,000 homeless in Nicaragua, Clemente boarded a plane full of supplies to head to Nicaragua to help. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all aboard. Clemente was just 38 years old and still in the middle of his baseball career. “He was a humanitarian who just happened to play great ball,” a visitor of the exhibit, Elizabeth Boone said. The exhibit featured quotes by Clemente’s family, teammates, opponents, as well memorabilia and film footage from his playing days. There was even a comment board where visitors were able to leave their ideas of Clemente. The board was covered in praises of Roberto Clemente in English, Spanish, German, and even Chinese. "The 6x4 fills up every weekend, so we take it down, save it, and put up a new one,
Perkins said. It read quotes such as, “A true role model for men of all ages,” or “Por siempre nuestro heroe,” which translates to “Forever our hero.” Robert Clements, one of the visitors at the exhibit, continues to be a huge fan of Clemente. “I grew up in Pittsburgh and watched Clemente play, he was only nine years older than me," said Clements. “I dreamt of playing left field while he was in right. The announcer would say, ‘In right field we have Roberto Clemente, and in left, his English counterpart Robert Clements.’ I have the English version of his name,” Clements explained. Clemente continues to inspire new generations of fans. Exhibits like these help educate those who were never able to watch him play themselves as well as remind his old fans just how influential of a man he was. The Roberto Clemente exhibit is running from Jan 21 until March 18. Tickets include entrance into the Orange Regional History Center and can be purchased for $9.00. The History Center will follow up the Clemente exhibit with a display of Charles Shulz’s “Peanuts” cartoon and then an exhibit on Universal Studios.