Roberto Clemente’s three sons and widow say they are so proud to release “Clemente: The True Legacy of an Undying Hero,” which includes never-before-released photos of the husband and father who was also a right fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 through 1972, the first Hispanic to win a World Series as a starter, as well as the first to receive an MVP Award and a World Series MVP Award. The baseball giant passed away, at 38, en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. His plane crashed immediately after takeoff.
“We’re telling the story people don’t know — the individual behind doors,” Roberto Clemente’s middle son, Luis, told NBC Latino. “The fans idolized him. Now they get to know more about him.”
Roberto, the eldest son, was 7 when his father passed away. Luis was 6 and Ricky was 3.
“We know the story – it is what we lived,” says Roberto. “The neat part is collecting the stories and reminiscing. Dad loved live crabs — his favorite food, but sometimes they would escape from the crate and run all over the house … Funny stories like that.”
Luis laughs, remembering the time their dad brought home a monkey for them as a pet. The monkey turned out to be very destructive, and they had to get rid of him. But, nonetheless, their father thought it important that they grow up with animals and nature. Roberto adds they had peacocks, turkeys, pigs and goats in their backyard in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. This is where Clemente’s widow, Vera Clemente, still lives.
“I have so many good memories,” says Vera, who married Clemente almost 50 years ago. “I have everything from when we traveled. When he used to come back to Puerto Rico for vacation, he’d dedicate his time to the kids on the island. Then we’d take small vacations everywhere and meet people.”
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Photo: Kristina Puga/NBCLatino.com