The Roberto Clemente Coliseum is located right next to the Hiram Bithorn Municipal Stadium, in a complex that also includes the Tito Puente Amphitheater and the Pedrín Zorilla mini coliseum. It was named after Puerto Rican Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente-Walker, who died in a plane crash on the night of December 31, 1972 while delivering relief to the victims of the Managua, Nicaragua earthquake.
Construction of the coliseum had started in the early seventies, but when the facility was inaugurated in January, 1973 it was named after the recently deceased baseball star.
The Roberto Clemente Coliseum is mainly a sports arena that seats a maximum of 10,000 spectators, but it has also hosted political, business, religious and musical events of all sorts. Among the most important concerts hosted at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum are: Saga, Judas Priest, Journey, Chicago, Bon Jovi, Hall & Oats, Loverboy, Cindy Lauper, 38 Special, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, REO Speedwagon, Meatloaf, Sting, Boston, Maná, Motley Crue, Kiss, Sting, Christina Aguilera, , Laura Pausini, Jennifer López, Ana Belén, Miguel Ríos, Joan Manuel Serrat, Víctor Manuel and many others.
The Roberto Clemente Coliseum was THE place for top-notch musical events throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. However, in my opinion, since the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum was inaugurated in September, 2004 the Roberto Clemente Coliseum has fallen prey to the “shiny new object” syndrome. Hardly any events seem to seem to find their way to the Roberto Clemente Coliseum anymore. Which sometimes makes no sense, because an event pulling 8 or 9 thousand spectators will seem more successful in a smaller venue. Plus, a smaller venue is more economical to operate than a larger one.
However, the fact remains that hardly any important events seem to land at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum anymore.
As for Robert Clemente-Walker the man, he’s still one of the most revered and respected Puerto Ricans of all time. His name still evokes positive emotions among all Puerto Ricans, and most of his achievements as a Baseball player, and as a human being, are still unrivaled.