The Orange County Regional History Center is assisting with efforts to repaint a mural of Hall of Famer and Puerto Rican baseball icon Roberto Clemente. The 20-foot mural painted for the Azalea Park Little League was destroyed by vandals last month. Earl Lugo, who is leading the fundraising effort, is having the fundraiser Saturday, March 15 at 12:00 p.m. at the Azalea Park Elementary School field. “I would like to take this horrific situation and turn it into a community block party. The support that we got from our community is overwhelming and we need to give them a humongous thank you,” said Lugo. New York artist, Hector “Nicer” Nazio, who painted the mural back in 2011, has been asked to come back and repaint it. “We were all really upset. We wanted to find a way to try and reach out and help . . . [Roberto Clemente] is a hero to the Puerto Rican community, but he’s a hero to the Orlando community at large,” Emilie Arnold, Exhibit Researcher and Traveling Exhibit Coordinator told WESH.
The History Center held an exhibition honoring Clemente in 2012, which featured biographical highlights, baseball statistics, rare photographs and firsthand accounts from the people who knew Clemente best. “We had such a great amount of response from our exhibit; we want to share this experience again as Roberto Clemente means so much to many people,” said Michael Perkins, Curator of Exhibits.
The History Center will have a tent set-up at the event at 12:00 p.m. Perkins says there will be some graphics from the exhibit and various hands-on activities for the public to participate in. “Children can design their own baseball pennant or also color a picture of Clemente. We’ll have 5×7 cards where people can write their comments about what Roberto Clemente meant to them as far as a cultural figure and post them on our board.”
Clemente held 12 consecutive Gold Glove Awards, four batting crowns and 3,000 hits. He was an outstanding baseball player and a dedicated humanitarian. Tragically, Clemente’s life ended at age 38 in a plane crash in 1972; he was flying relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims.
The Orange County Regional History Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $15; seniors (60+), students, and military with I.D. $13; and children ages 5-12 $12. Historical Society Members and children ages 4 and under are free. Parking is available at the adjacent Orlando Public Library garage on Central Blvd. For general information, call (407) 836-8500 or visit www.thehistorycenter.org.