On the Fast Track: Duane Rieder

With 1,000 rare photos, clothing and trophies, Duane Rieder opens a museum with his personal collection of memorabilia dedicated to Roberto Clemente.


Photo by Rob Larson

In a former Lawrenceville firehouse complete with a fire pole, Duane Rieder is living out a childhood dream. Pittsburgh Engine House No. 25 on Penn Avenue, with its brick turrets and bright-red front door, is the 46-year-old photographer’s shrine for a collection of memorabilia—not of firefighters, but of his hero, Pirate baseball legend Roberto Clemente.

As a commercial photographer with a special interest in sports portraiture, Rieder loves the Clemente image, in all senses of the word. “I just love what he stood for. And I love photographs of him,” says Rieder, greeting a visitor in a black ball cap with the 21 logo on it. “With Clemente, every shot is a winner—he took great pictures, as if he knew they would be displayed one day.” His two-story collection of 1,000 rare photos, contracts, clothing and trophies, including two of Clemente’s 12 Gold Glove awards, will be the backdrop for the premiere screening of “Clemente,” a PBS documentary by director Michael Chin. It will air Mon., April 21, at 9 p.m., on “American Experience” on WQED-TV 13.

“I’m a fan of old baseball,” says Rieder. “I love the look of the old sepia-toned images.” When an assignment for a 1994 Clemente calendar took him to San Juan to meet Clemente’s widow, Vera, they kindled a friendship that has continued, sharing images, memories and stories of the right-fielder, whose plane, delivering relief to Nicaraguan earthquake victims, crashed on Dec. 31, 1972. The world mourned baseball’s first Latino Hall of Famer, who had been named World Series MVP just a year earlier.

“We see clips of him running the bases or catching a ball, but we don’t really know the man that he was,” says Rieder. Rieder hopes his collection, which opens officially in mid-April, should help to enhance Clemente’s standing in a city that has honored him since he first joined the Pirates in 1955.

Rieder’s personal collection is augmented by some items lent by Vera Clemente, who continues to live in the house her husband built in Puerto Rico. “She’s one of the best people I’ve met in my life,” says Rieder. Pittsburghers glimpsed images from the collection in a popular show at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Sen. John Heinz History Center last year. However, Rieder’s Penn Avenue collection is separate from both the sports museum and other Clemente charities. It is not connected to the Clemente Foundation, which operates only in the United States, or to Sports City, the 304-acre recreation complex Clemente’s widow had built on land in his hometown of Carolina, Puerto Rico, after his death.

Former Little Leaguer Rieder grew up in St. Marys, Elk County, playing on teams with his three brothers. “Right field,” he clarifies. “How about that?” Since 1996, when he bought the 1896 firehouse that once had served as a City of Pittsburgh parks department garage, his brothers have helped him remodel the space, which doubles as his studio, although he lives in the South Hills.

When he discovered recently that Lou Gehrig had once spent a night at the building in 1927, accepting an invitation from a firefighter friend, Zip Sloane, Rieder immediately saw a connection between two baseball legends. Gehrig and Clemente were the only players in history inducted during a special election separate from the one held each year to determine which players should be honored in the Hall of Fame.

Rieder’s enthusiasm for Clemente is a passion shared all over the region. Rieder thinks he knows why.

“There’s no negativity about Roberto Clemente. He is forever young. He’s our shining star.”

(3339 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville. Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $10; children, $5. 412/621-1268)

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in September

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in September

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Two years after Chuck Noll’s death, University of Pittsburgh Press prepares to publish the first definitive biography of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach. Pittsburgh Magazine is proud to share an interview with author Michael MacCambridge and an exclusive excerpt of “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work,” scheduled for release in October.
The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

Renovation is under way at nearly all of our area colleges and universities. For students heading back to school this fall — and their parents — we offer this crash course on the highlights of these projects and their projected benefits.
Fall Fashion: In the Black

Fall Fashion: In the Black

The little black dress, and shirt, and pants, never go out of style. Add mystery to your wardrobe with these easy-to-accent autumn staples.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Buzz over to Phipps Conservatory’s New Beehive

Buzz over to Phipps Conservatory’s New Beehive

See how Pittsburgh’s newest bee colony is educating the next generation.
Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

Casting Call: ‘A Long Day But You Will Be Fed Like a King’

A new Netflix series filming in the Pittsburgh area is looking for thousands of extras.
Turning on the Tap: You Now Can Buy Beer at Pitt Home Games

Turning on the Tap: You Now Can Buy Beer at Pitt Home Games

It’s the first time beer will be sold stadium-wide at University of Pittsburgh games at Heinz Field.
Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

Southwest Airlines Planning More Flights from Pittsburgh

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has been lobbying for more direct service from Pittsburgh to the West Coast.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in September

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in September

This month's best bets in The 'Burgh.
Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Chuck Noll: A Man for All Seasons

Two years after Chuck Noll’s death, University of Pittsburgh Press prepares to publish the first definitive biography of the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers coach. Pittsburgh Magazine is proud to share an interview with author Michael MacCambridge and an exclusive excerpt of “Chuck Noll: His Life’s Work,” scheduled for release in October.
The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

The Changing Face of Campus in Pittsburgh

Renovation is under way at nearly all of our area colleges and universities. For students heading back to school this fall — and their parents — we offer this crash course on the highlights of these projects and their projected benefits.
Fall Fashion: In the Black

Fall Fashion: In the Black

The little black dress, and shirt, and pants, never go out of style. Add mystery to your wardrobe with these easy-to-accent autumn staples.
Apteka: A Taste of Home

Apteka: A Taste of Home

Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski bring top-notch vegan, eastern European cuisine to Bloomfield.
Talk of The Tahn: City of Beer

Talk of The Tahn: City of Beer

There are plans afoot for a international museum of beer to be built and staffed right here in Pittsburgh.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Buzz over to Phipps Conservatory’s New Beehive

Buzz over to Phipps Conservatory’s New Beehive

See how Pittsburgh’s newest bee colony is educating the next generation.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

PittGirl: How You Should Grade A Squishy Tongue

Kennywood Park opens soon and new this season is the return of the famed whale at the entrance of Noah’s Ark. In the name of science, PittGirl paid an early visit to test the squishiness quotient of the whale's all-important tongue.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Where to Go at the Three Day Blow

Our dining critic (and Three Day Blow organizing committee member) has a roundup of some open to the public events.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

The 5 Best Comic Shops in Pittsburgh

These comic book shops offer more than just your casual Batman or Spider-Man choices.

Comments


I'm Starting to Really Miss Malls

I'm Starting to Really Miss Malls

The decline of the big suburban shopping mall was inevitable, but we're losing something valuable in the process.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Kaepernick Got It Wrong While Exercising His Constitutional Right

Kaepernick Got It Wrong While Exercising His Constitutional Right

The 49ers' quarterback has already apparently forgotten what Steelers left tackle and former U.S. Army Captain and Afghanistan veteran Alejandro Villanueva has vowed never to forget.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Work It

Work It

A new handbag from Sandra Cadavid’s is perfect for work — or play.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

'Hands of Stone' Keeps the Boxing Movie Genre Strong

Reviews of "Hands of Stone" and "Don't Breathe," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Not Your Typical Bachelorette Party, This One Had a Purpose

Not Your Typical Bachelorette Party, This One Had a Purpose

Bride-to-be Jessika Baldwin didn’t want a traditional bachelorette party — so she hosted a day out that benefited women other than herself.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
West End Welcomes Antique Store

West End Welcomes Antique Store

What was old becomes new again at the recently opened Vintage 73 antique store in Crafton Heights.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

Two Events Planned for Prospective Waynesburg Students

A fall visitation day and a Saturday information session aim to allow interested students a look into life at the university.

Comments