Mural of Pittsburgh Pirates great Roberto Clemente defaced in Azalea Park

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Authorities are looking for the vandals who targeted a mural of Roberto Clemente on the side of a ballpark facility in Azalea Park.

Overnight, someone painted over the mural, which showed Clemente on one knee in his Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.

Residents said they can't imagine why someone would want to destroy the painting.

For years, volunteers have worked to improve the Azalea Park Little League field. In 2011, New York graffiti artist Hector Nazario painted the Clemente mural, but it was gone when neighbors woke up Wednesday morning.

"It's very hurtful. That was beautiful. And he was a great man, too," one resident said.

"Mainly Latin community, that was our field of dreams," said baseball coach Ramiro Rivera. "That was the person we looked up to. And to be defaced like that out of nowhere is really a shame."

The mural was part of a community effort to bring the ball field, which had fallen on hard times, back into something everyone could be proud of.

For a community with a huge Hispanic population, the addition of Clemente's image was intended to be a symbol for the kids who would play ball at the field that any of them could become great.

"When you have kids looking up to role models, Roberto was that kind of hero, the perfect American hero," said Carlos Guzman, president of the Puerto Rican Leadership Council.

Officials intend to file a police report and hope whoever did it will be caught.

Nazario was one of the first graffiti artists in New York City to cross over into mainstream art. He's been commissioned to paint for designers and advertisers and has even had his work shown in museums.