Clemente- Remembering a Puerto Rican Baseball Legend
Whenever large events are organized in San Juan, they are usually hosted in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. This sporting facility is the biggest of its kind in Puerto Rico, with enough seating for 10 000 spectators and a ground area that measures approximately 50 000 square feet in size. The two-storey Roberto Clemente Coliseum can host most events comfortably.
The legendary Roberto Clemente was born in the city of Carolina, in Puerto Rico, on 18 August 1934. He became a baseball hero while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the years 1955 to 1972. Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for eighteen seasons and even won the National League MVP Award. But he never turned his back on his country and often supplied food and even baseball equipment to Puerto Rico. Tragically, while en route to Nicaragua with relief supplies for victims of a recent earthquake, the plane that Roberto Clemente was traveling in crashed. Clemente died in the crash on 31 December 1972 and his body was never recovered. In the year 1973, a newly constructed Coliseum in Puerto Rico was dedicated to the memory of this great sporting legend. During the same year, Clemente was inaugurated into the Hall of Fame. His city of birth, Carolina, also paid respect to Roberto Clemente by naming a street in his honor and later establishing the Roberto Clemente Sports City on this street.
The Roberto Clemente Coliseum has seen many sporting events take place within its grounds, including Judo, Boxing, Gymnastics, Basketball, Martial Arts and Volleyball. Other interesting events, such as political rallies, circuses, expos and even concerts by celebrity groups including Kiss, Motley Crue and Duran Duran, have been hosted at the coliseum. Memorable world championship boxing matches took place here during the 1970’s and the 1980’s, known as the ‘golden age of boxing in Puerto Rico’. The coliseum was a great boxing attraction in Puerto Rico, with thousands of fans lining up to see George Foreman, Roberto Duran, Carlos Zarate, Wilfredo Gomez, Jose Luis Ramirez, Muhammad Ali, Leoncio Ortiz, Edwin Rosario and Jean Pierre Coopman.
Visitors to the island should make a point of stopping by the largest sporting attraction in Puerto Rico. It is filled with nostalgia and the history of the sports legends of the past. The Roberto Clemente Coliseum is truly a wonderful sight to visit and the perfect host for noteworthy events.