During the 1990s, as crack cocaine fueled the murder rate in New York, Nazario and his fellow artists known as the TATs Cru, painted hundreds of such murals.
Earl Lugo, a coach in Azalea Park Little League, believes in heroes. He wants the youngsters from his working-class east Orange County neighborhood to believe in them, too.
So Lugo recruited a childhood friend — professional graffiti artist Hector "Nicer" Nazario — to paint a large-scale mural of baseball hero Roberto Clemente at the Azalea Park baseball field. The Puerto Rican Hall of Famer died in a 1972 plane crash while delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. His humanitarian efforts earned him a Congressional Gold Medal.
"I think to have his face really big at the entrance of that park will represent his honor and make these kids feel important," said Lugo, 43, who grew up in Bronx, N.Y.
Saturday's mural painting will be a high point in a campaign to clean up the field, which has fallen into disrepair.
Nazario, 44, has made a name for himself in his hometown of New York City as a spray-painting mural artist. Though he has worked on movie sets and music-video productions for artists such as Beyonce and John Mayer, he is known on the streets of the Bronx and beyond for painting memorial murals to young victims of violence.
Work such as the Azalea Park mural is important, because it lets him give something to the living, Nazario said.
"I want kids to see things can be achieved," he said. "You can go places."
Helping children in need is even more important to him now: Last year his 22-year-old son, Bleu, was killed in a random shooting in New York.