Last week, the Roberto Clemente Museum honoring the Pittsburgh Pirate legend opened with celebrations including a few open-house parties and a $30,000 check from Councilman Len Bodack. The museum has been made possible by Duane Rieder who has been working for 11 years to get it running. It was constructed out of an old Enginehouse No. 25 on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh. He purchased the 4,400-square-foot building in 1996 where he established a commercial photography studio. Meanwhile, he became an avid collector of Roberto Clemente and is seeking nonprofit status and $270,000 to keep the museum running. The artifacts inside include includes professional sports photography, Clemente family snapshots, contracts, receipts for furniture, telegrams, letters, a union card, a wedding invitation, a pair of 1971 cleats, old uniforms, gloves, balls, bats, seats from Forbes Field and a replica of the old scoreboard.

Rieder’s first collectible was a 1994 All-Star Game calendar that he helped to create which led him to a meeting with the Clemente family. Clemente himself was killed in a plane crash on New Years Eve in 1972 while bringing supplies to victims of an earthquake that took place in Nicaragua. Vera Clemente, Roberto Clemente’s widow, gave him some pictures that she had of her husband. One photo was of Clemente with his team and Mrs. Clemente at the White House that was in poor condition. She asked him to help restore it, and he was able to get the negatives of the shot from the White House. He also visited Puerto Rico and found the Clemente family’s entire photo collection which he restored for them and made copies for his own collection.

Aside from honoring the Pittsburgh hero, many hope the museum is the first step in reviving that section of town. The city hopes to restore Lower Lawrenceville’s western gateway which is in need of investments to help develop the area. The area has been neglected for the maintenance of larger Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

For related articles visit http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07204/803776-63.stm and

http://www.latinosportslegends.com/clemente.htm.

Be Sociable, Share!