Roberto Clemente Jr. carries on father’s legacy

Roberto Clemente Jr. speaks during the Hancock Symposium on Wednesday at Westminster College. Sports was the theme for the event this year.

Roberto Clemente Jr. speaks during the Hancock Symposium on Wednesday at Westminster College. Sports was the theme for the event this year.

The Hancock Symposium closed with a session from Roberto Clemente Jr., the son of famous baseball player and humanitarian Roberto Clemente.

Clemente Jr. spent much of his session discussing the profound impact his father had on the world. Though he’d never been to these places, a stadium in Germany has been named after Clemente and a Japanese professional baseball award is in his honor — the Golden Spirit Award.

“He lived as a baseball legend,” Clemente said, “but died a hero.”

Clemente was on a plane delivering supplies and aid to survivors of a Nicaraguan earthquake when his plane went down just a few miles after takeoff Dec. 31, 1972.

Before he died, Clemente was known for his kindness and goodwill.

“He would get up after a night game and hand deliver a set of personally-signed letters to a nearby hospital,” Clemente said. “He was more than a baseball player, he was someone people looked up to.”

While Clemente is now awed by how much his father accomplished in 38 years, he didn’t understand the impact he’d had on baseball and the world during his career.

“For me, he wasn’t a superhero, he wasn’t a baseball player,” Clemente said. “He was just my dad.”

Clemente was recently named as a True Sports Hero by Fox Sports and one of the most influential Latino athletes of all time.

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