Clemente ¡Presente!

On December 31st, a ceremony celebrating Roberto Clemente’s achievements — as a civil rights activist and as the first Puerto Rican inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame — will begin at the six-foot granite memorial for him in Colt Park. Mayor Segarra will be speaking at this event; from there, the ceremony will move to Charter Oak Landing where baseballs will be thrown into the Connecticut River.

The Hartford Roberto Clemente Committee says,”Clemente forced the Pirates [his team at the time] to postpone their 1968 season opener with the Astros on the day before Martin Luther King’s funeral. He organized his black and Puerto Rican teammates against eating meals on the team bus while white players ate in restaurants. He supported Athletics player Vic Power, also from Puerto Rico, when Power was arrested for buying a Coke from a whites-only gas station. [Clemente] died in [a] plane crash on December 31, 1972 while on a relief mission to Nicaragua, after hearing that the dictator Somoza was hoarding donations meant for earthquake victims.”

The celebration is scheduled to begin at noon on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of Clemente‘s death.