Roberto Clemente Field, located in Boston's Back Bay Fens, serves as Emmanuel's home field, as well as an important community recreational resource.
In 2009, Emmanuel College and the Yawkey Foundation, in partnership with the city of Boston, contributed $4 million to restore the historic, city-owned Roberto Clemente Field, an important community athletic resource in the Back Bay Fens, across the street from Emmanuel's campus.
The complex features a 120,000-square-foot, NCAA-regulation synthetic turf field, a three-lane, rubberized all-weather track, practice facilities for expanded track and field events, including high jump, long jump, triple jump, discus, javelin and shot put, Musco® lighting, scoreboard, stands and benches for handicap seating.
The field serves as home field for Emmanuel College softball, men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams, as well as the practice facility for men's and women's track and field. The field is also used by Boston Latin School athletics, Fenway High School gym classes, Colleges of the Fenway intramurals and adult and youth summer softball leagues. The all-weather track remains open to the public for recreational walking and jogging year-round.
The ball field at Joseph Lee Playground was named "Roberto Clemente Field" in honor of the legendary Hall of Fame baseball player and humanitarian. Proclaimed by his contemporaries as "the greatest right fielder of all time" and lauded for his abilities on the field, the Puerto Rican-native is equally remembered for his tireless charitable work around the world. Tragically killed in a plane crash in 1972 while attempting to deliver relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims, Clemente's memory has certainly not been forgotten.For his "outstanding athletic, civic, charitable, and humanitarian contributions," Clemente was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress in 1973. Since that year, Major League Baseball has annually presented the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award as a means of honoring his "spirit and goodwill." The award is given to the player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team."
Located within one of the city's premier parks, the Back Bay Fens, Clemente Field is part of the city's 1,100-acre chain of parks and waterways known as the Emerald Necklace. The Emerald Necklace was designed in the late 19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted, whose other well-known works include Central Park in New York City and the landscaping of the U.S. Capitol.
The Emerald Necklace was meant to serve the city as a place for both relaxation and recreation. At the foundation of Olmsted's plan to develop the Back Bay Fens was a desire to remaining true to "both the character of the land and the needs of the growing population." Although over time the area has undergone change, most notably in the early 20th century through the damming of the Charles River and the addition of new features, including the ball fields designed by landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff, Olmsted's vision of creating a park that meets the needs of the city's residents has remained strong.
The most recent restoration through Emmanuel's partnership with the city of Boston will ensure that vision lives on for generations to come.