Bradenton street outside Pirate City named after Roberto Clemente

February 21st, 2024

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A goal for any Pirate is to play ball the way.

To get to Pirate City now, they’ll have to quite literally do that.

On Wednesday, the Manatee County-owned section of 27th Street East -- which passes by Pirate City -- was renamed Roberto Clemente Memorial Way, paying tribute to the humanitarian and legendary ballplayer.

“We are pleased to pay tribute to Roberto Clemente and his legacy this way,” Manatee County District 2 Commissioner Amanda Ballard said. “This will be a lasting appreciation of his honor and humanity.”

And for his son, Roberto Clemente Jr., it is a symbol of how far the state has come from the segregation his father endured during his playing career.

“We have celebrated a lot of naming of streets but nothing this special,” Clemente Jr. said. “As the story goes, obviously we know what he went through in Spring Training in Florida, to the point that he asked to have a station wagon for the guys to be able to travel together because they couldn’t stay with [the] team wherever they went to. So here, hence we are at Pirate City, the team decided to have a place where all of them [get] to stay together. I think he was a big part of that story, to have Pirate City.”

Bradenton holds a special place for the Clemente family, as it was the Spring Training home for the Hall of Famer, and Clemente Jr. stayed there while playing at Manatee Junior College.

Decades later, that connection is still growing.

“It’s truly amazing that, after 51 years, his legacy continues to be so strong,” Clemente Jr. said. “Another namesake always grows every year. We’re talking about the U.S. Mint coin. We go down the whole list of things that are happening with his name and with him that is truly a blessing.”