The Great One

Duane Rieder showcases his extraordinary collection of Roberto Clemente memorabilia.



Duane Rieder has the "world's largest" collection of Roberto Clemente memorabilia.

Photo by Becky Thurner Braddock

There are collectors, and then there are those whose collections are so vast, so comprehensive, that they are worthy of being showcased in a permanent museum for the public to enjoy.

Such is the case with Duane Rieder's collection of hundreds of items of Roberto Clemente memorabilia-Rieder says it's the world's largest-that is housed at his two-story Roberto Clemente Museum in Lawrenceville, located in Enginehouse 25, a turn-of-the-century firehouse. Clemente, the heroic Pirates superstar who died in a plane crash while bringing supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua on New Year's Eve 1972, would have been 76 on Aug. 18.

For those who have an interest in Clemente or who idolized him as many in Pittsburgh did, Rieder's collection affords an up-close, personal view unlike any other.

Rieder's collection and his close association with the Clemente family, including with his widow, Vera, and sons Roberto Jr., Luis and Enrique, began with a calendar. A renowned photographer, Rieder worked on a calendar that was released in conjunction with the 1994 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh and flew to Puerto Rico to meet with the Clementes. "They had some rare photos that were in terrible condition, including a photo with her brother when Richard Nixon was giving Roberto a posthumous award, and Vera asked me to fix them," Rieder says. "Instead, I was able to find the original film from the photographer and give her brand new prints, including ones she had never seen before. They've treated me like family ever since, and our relationship gets stronger all the time."

Rieder's non-profit museum, which opened in 2006, includes several items on loan from the Clementes, but most are from his own personal collection. In addition to hundreds of photos, the beautifully displayed collection includes Clemente's two Golden Glove Awards, Silver Bat Award, the 1971 World Series home plate, a collection of 1971 Pirates team bats, game-worn jerseys, game-used bats, balls, letters and photos from his time in the military, personal letters and letters from Pirates ownership and dugout benches, and what Rieder says is "every item from his wallet except for his driver's license."

His favorite piece? "His cleats. I loved the way Roberto ran, and these old, worn cleats are such a personal part of him," Rieder says. It's Clemente's personal items that mean the most to Rieder, he says, including one of Clemente's business suits that's on display.

Rieder has acquired most of his items from auctions, eBay and personal collectors, and he intends to keep the collection growing, primarily to share it with others. "People come to the museum, see my collection and get to see a side of Roberto they've never seen before and hear stories they've never heard," Rieder says. "It makes for an exciting and moving experience for both of us." 

The Clemente Museum, located at 3339 Penn Ave., Lawrenceville, is open by appointment. A fundraiser is scheduled for Wed., Aug. 18. To schedule a tour or for museum or fundraiser information, call 412/621-1268 or visit clementemuseum.com.


What do you collect? Tell us! Your collection may be included in an upcoming issue. E-mail collectors@pittsburghmagazine.com.

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

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

The 10 Brands That Built Pittsburgh

From glass and aluminum to ketchup and candy, Pittsburgh has made its mark, thanks in large part to the instantly recognizable brands that remain etched not merely on its buildings — but on its DNA. We look at 10 of those brands and explore how they helped to establish and define the Steel City.
Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Wheels Up? What's Next for PIT

Under a new CEO, Pittsburgh International Airport heads into its 25th year while attempting to woo flyers and flights and leave its empty, post-hub days behind.
Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Pittsburgh's Connection to an Out-of-This-World View of Space

Three men at NASA serve pivotal roles in maintaining the Hubble Space Telescope, which has been taking high-resolution photos of deep space form more than 25 years. And they're all from Pittsburgh.
Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

Dish Review: Bar Marco's Turnaround

The Strip District eatery overcomes tumult and once again is one of Pittsburgh’s finest restaurants.
Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

Talk of The Tahn: Weird Things We Do that Make Pittsburgh Wonderful

The things that are best about us? They’re not things. They’re ways.
Chris Kunitz: The Penguins' Unassuming Hitmaker

Chris Kunitz: The Penguins' Unassuming Hitmaker

Chris Kunitz wants to dish out a couple hundred more hits, play a couple hundred more games and win a couple more Cups.
Edit Module

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

Watch: Tributes and More For Golfing Great Arnold Palmer

The golf icon from Latrobe, Pa. died Sunday of complications from heart problems.

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
Dinette's Sonja Finn to Helm New Restaurant at Carnegie Museums in Oakland

Dinette's Sonja Finn to Helm New Restaurant at Carnegie Museums in Oakland

Finn and chef de cuisine Becca Hegarty to bring salads, sandwiches, house-baked bread, wine and more to the refurbished Café Carnegie.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

6 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Drinks With Some Spirits at Harmony Inn

Drinks With Some Spirits at Harmony Inn

The historic (and purportedly haunted) Harmony Inn is a fine stop for drinks and food.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pens Look Back and Ahead to Cap ‘Summer of Stan’

Pens Look Back and Ahead to Cap ‘Summer of Stan’

The puck drops for the opening of training camp on Friday, and once that happens the Penguins must transition from “champions” into “defending champions.”

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.
If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

If All Remakes Were as Good as Magnificent Seven, We'd Really Love Remakes

Reviews of the "Magnificent Seven" remake and "Storks," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

A Laid-Back Love: Kelly McHolme and Bob Stasa

This Pittsburgh couple wanted their guests to be just as content as they were at their wedding.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
This Weekend: Annual Wilkinsburg House & Garden Tour

This Weekend: Annual Wilkinsburg House & Garden Tour

Also: If you’re looking to redo a room to invite relaxation, PPG Paints promises a wide variety of soothing colors for 2017.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Duquesne University Inaugurates New President with Deep Pittsburgh Roots

Duquesne University Inaugurates New President with Deep Pittsburgh Roots

Ken Gormley began his new tenure by delivering good news to University employees.

Comments