The hidden history of Roberto Clemente

From David Dorsey at the Fort Myers News-Press on March 3, 2013:

The photograph shows Roberto Clemente jumping for a fly ball at Terry Park, an act he completed countless times between 1955, his rookie season, and 1968, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ final spring training in Fort Myers.

Clouds shaped like wings of an angel appear in the background behind Clemente. The negative of the photo, taken circa 1960 at Terry Park by Jim Klingensmith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, was recovered from a trash container in 1991, stored in a box for seven years and then bought and displayed at the Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh.

Like that photograph, Clemente’s stay in Fort Myers has remained hidden but preserved.

Forty years have passed since the Hall of Fame right fielder died at the age of 38 on Dec. 31, 1972. His plane crashed while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Clemente’s native Team Puerto Rico arrives in Fort Myers today for four days of practices and games in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Despite the 45 years that have passed since Clemente played off Palm Beach Boulevard, signs and stories of his time in Fort Myers remain. So do those of Clemente as an international icon.

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Originally published: March 4, 2013. Last Updated: March 4, 2013.