Weekend of Kindness and Coaching: The Roberto Clemente Foundation Celebrates Clemente's Legacy

This past weekend, the Roberto Clemente Foundation extended its outreach through various events, including an impactful baseball clinic held in Hartford, CT.  

The Roberto Clemente Foundation welcomed over 200 enthusiastic children and their parents to Dunkin' Park, a beautiful Minor League stadium that serves as the home of the Hartford Yard Goats, Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.  The event was made possible by Los Amigos Softball League, Peter Mercado, the Hartford Yard Goats, Dressler Law Firm, Sammy Vega, and Jeffrey Dressler. 

Over the course of the morning, you could see how the event transformed into a true family affair. The aim of The Roberto Clemente Foundation and the appearances they host is to make a significant difference in young lives. The day brought forth unexpected moments that elevated spirits to new heights.

Tom Brasuell, President of The Roberto Clemente Foundation, speaks to attendees ahead of the clinic

Clinic counselors included Matt Merullo (Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins; 1989-1995), Evan Scribner (San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners; 2011-2017), Dave Fleming (Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals; 1991-1995), Roman Colón (Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals; 2004-2012), Luis Clemente (son of Roberto and Vera Clemente), Oreste Marrero (Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos; 1993-1996), Basilio Ortiz (San Francisco Giants, Baltimore Orioles systems 1991-1997), and Victor Rivera.

The heart of this free event lay in the unique opportunity it presented for hundreds of young, aspiring baseball players. Former major league players lent their expertise, engaging with these budding talents and aiding in their baseball skill development. Each attendee was granted a chance to refine their abilities under the guidance of seasoned professionals—an invaluable experience that promises to shape their journey in the sport. The clinic, a collaboration between seasoned veterans and eager novices, exemplified the mission of the Roberto Clemente Foundation: fostering the growth of future leaders through sports and community engagement.

(Above): Matt Merullo and Evan Scribner speaking to a young group of players, and (Below) Oreste Marrero works with another group of players on fielding techniques during The Roberto Clemente Foundation Clinic in Hartford, CT. 

Adding to the excitement, each participant received a commemorative t-shirt, autographs from the pros, an official baseball, trading cards, and precious moments captured forever in photos alongside both seasoned professional players, and Luis Clemente. The Foundation's commitment to inclusivity and fairness extended to the tangible keepsakes, reminding everyone of the shared spirit that united them on this remarkable day.

Roman Colón working with a young pitcher at The Roberto Clemente Foundation Clinic which was hosted at Dunkin'Park in Hartford, CT

Luis Clemente, speaking on the occasion, remarked, "With the steadfast support of Major League Baseball Players Alumni, the Hartford Yard Goats, and our friends from Los Amigos in Hartford, we are profoundly grateful and appreciate all the efforts that were made to impact so many young kids. It's incredible to be in the presence of the youngsters, hearing the questions they ask, and knowing that they really learn from these events. We have been coming to Dunkin' Park for five years, now and are always so happy to come back."

In addition to playing baseball with Major League Baseball Alumni, the event's highlights included a raffle of two bicycles—a testament to the Foundation's dedication to fairness and equal opportunities.  The bicycles were donated by the Dressler Law Firm of Waterbury, which aims at ensuring that people are treated fairly in the system with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Each attendee was afforded an equal chance to win, aligning with the spirit of inclusivity that the Foundation holds dear. As the raffles concluded, the winners were presented with their prizes, commemorated through photographs alongside Luis Clemente.  But it was the actions of an 8-year-old that illuminated the most important lesson of the day...

A recipient of one of the new bicycles, this young girl in the photo on the right (above) selflessly chose to return her prize. She shared that she already owned a bicycle and wanted another child to experience the joy of having one. This act resonated profoundly with the true essence of The Clemente Foundation's mission and message of compassion, service, selflessness, and the willingness to distribute blessings with those less fortunate.

On what would have marked Roberto Clemente's 89th birthday, this weekend's events took on an even deeper significance. The legacies of Roberto and Vera Clemente, beacons of compassion and generosity, continue to shine through events such as this. It's a poignant reminder that even after all these years, the impact of Clemente lives on—unfolding vibrantly in weekends like these, where kindness and coaching intermingle to illuminate young lives.

Victor Rivera, a retired Command Sergeant Major and Vice President of The Roberto Clemente Foundation, reflects on the weekend's impact, highlighting not only the invaluable experience it offered the children but also the profound reminder it served for everyone to stay connected with a greater purpose. "As we journey through life," Rivera emphasizes, "let us cultivate hearts brimming with the enduring virtues of the Spirit: Love, Joy, and Hope. The Foundation's steadfast dedication to these principles resonates with the very essence of Clemente's legacy—an enduring beacon that illuminates through gestures of kindness and nurturing mentorship, sculpting the path for a radiant future in the lives of our youth."

Luis Clemente and Victor Rivera speaking to the attendees of The Roberto Clemente Foundation Clinic at Dunkin' Park in Hartford, CT

The Roberto Clemente Foundation has other upcoming events scheduled in the coming weeks, specifically centered around Roberto Clemente Day, which is celebrated around the baseball world on September 15th.

On Thursday, September 14th, the Annual Roberto Clemente Foundation Gala will be hosted at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Another Roberto Clemente Foundation Clinic is going to be hosted on September 16th in Pittsburgh as a part of the Clemente Day celebrations. Then, on Sunday, September 17th 2023, the Roberto Clemente 2.1K Charity Walk will take place at PNC Park starting at 7:30am. This walk can be done in-person, or virtually, and all paid participants will receive a limited edition cap and race bib. 

For more information on these events, or any upcoming plans that the Foundation has scheduled, please visit www.robertoclementefoundation.com


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