Tuesday, June 23, 2015

BIG Day with Big Leaguers and Roberto Clemente, Jr. scheduled for the BIG Vision Sports Complex

Big Vision Foundation Honors Legacy of Roberto Clemente


Roberto Clemente, Jr., son of the late Hall of Fame baseball player, Roberto Clemente will be in Berks County on June 25, 2015 when the BIG Vision Foundation honors the legacy of his father by retiring number 21 at the BIG Vision Sports Complex in Leesport.

The number retirement event will be the culmination of an all day celebration that is sponsored by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and RC21X, a Pittsburgh based brain health testing company which is named in Clemente’s honor.

The day will start at 10:30 AM when the Major League Players Alumni Association hosts a free youth clinic which will run from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM.

Former Major League players that will be helping with the events throughout the day include, Shawn Barton, Rich Rodriguez, Bob Kaiser, Doug Clemens, Ed Kovac Sr., Derrick May, Charles Goggin, Thomas Donohue, Rick Krivda, Rich Surhoff, Dickie Noles, Garrett Stephenson, Jay Witasick, Howie Bedell and Andy Ashby.

Following the free youth clinic will be a free coaches clinic from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, also conducted by the former Major League players.

The number retirement ceremony for Clemente will start 6:00 pm on Charlie Wagner Field, which is the Fenway Park replica at the BIG Vision Sports Complex. The evening will culminate with the “Legends Softball Game” at 6:35 PM, which will feature the former MLB players playing with local players on Wagner Field.

“We felt that it was important honor Clemente.” Said Dan Clouser, President of the BIG Vision Foundation. “His accomplishments both on and off the field were remarkable. Major League Baseball retired #42 for all of MLB for Jackie Robinson, we also have #42 retired and displayed on our fence here. Robinson and Clemente were both pioneers and great men of character as well. I don’t know if the MLB will ever retire #21 throughout all of baseball like they did with Jackie. I personally think that they should, but I also knew that we didn’t have to wait for the MLB to do it in order for us to do it, so we just went ahead and did it.”

“I am honored to be part of the ceremony for my father.” Clemente, Jr. added. “My father would be proud to be associated with such a great facility and organization.”

Roberto Clemente was a right fielder who played 18 seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972. He was inducted posthumously to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be enshrined. His death established the precedent that as an alternate to the five year retirement period, a player deceased for at least 6 months is eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.

Clemente was an All-Star for twelve seasons, National League (NL) Most Valuable Player one season, a NL batting champion four seasons, and a Gold Glove winner twelve seasons. In 1972, Clemente got his 3,000th major league hit in the very last plate appearance of his career during a regular season game. Clemente is the first Latin American and Caribbean player to win a World Series as a starter (1960), to receive a NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP Award (1971).

He was involved in charity work in Puerto Rico and Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off seasons, often delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need. He died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972, while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

(All information in this post was provided through the Big Vision Foundation.)

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