Thousands celebrate legendary Pirate on ‘Clemente Day’ with proclamations, Day of Service

PITTSBURGH — More than half a century after his historic 3,000th hit and posthumous induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Roberto Clemente’s legacy lives on, as state and local leaders proclaimed Sept. 15 “Clemente Day.”

“As a little boy, watching him at Forbes Field, watching him at Three Rivers Stadium…the majesty of him run the bases, how he ran the bases, in the special way he did,” said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County executive.

The Clemente family stood outside of PNC Park, honoring their father, brother, and grandfather in the City of Champions, one of the greatest athletes ever to wear a Pirates uniform.

“Fifty years later, we’re still celebrating him and the impact he left us here and all over the world,” said Roberto Clemente Jr.

For thousands, his philanthropic efforts are remembered just as much as his athletics talents. Clemente’s family joined players and staff, along with the Pirate Parrot, to show their appreciation for the military by putting together care packages to be sent overseas.

“He represented everything that is great about the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates organization,” said Travis Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates president.

It was one of several community events held across the city, giving those the opportunity to give back.

“International heroes like Mr. Clemente [are] an example of what all can achieve here….that the city is open for all of us to enjoy,” said Jake Wheatley, chief of staff for Mayor Ed Gainey.

For many, Clemente’s legacy lives on through his family and his heritage.

“He blazed a trail for so many players to follow him and people to follow him…and the special relationship that we have in Pittsburgh with Puerto Rico to this day is because of that man,” Fitzgerald said.

The celebration coincides with the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

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