Bucs, Marlins will mark Clemente Day in PR
Clubs will play 2 games on May 30-31 in San Juan in honor of legend
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will head back to Puerto Rico next year as Major League Baseball celebrates the legacy of Roberto Clemente, a Pittsburgh icon and the island's favorite son.
The Pirates and Marlins will play a two-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on May 30-31, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Thursday at the league's quarterly Owners Meetings. May 31 will be Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, giving the Pirates a chance to observe the occasion in Clemente's home country.
"The Pirates are thrilled to return to Puerto Rico in 2016," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. "Roberto Clemente embodied what it means to be a Pittsburgh Pirate, a player of great determination, grit and skill on the field who also embraced the more weighty obligation to make a difference in the lives of others off the field."
Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Clemente spent his entire career in Pittsburgh. He died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1972 while delivering supplies to Nicaragua, and he is remembered as much for his giving spirit off the field as his Hall of Fame career.
In honor of Clemente, and in conjunction with the day created in his honor, MLB will also announce the names of the 30 club nominees for the 2016 Roberto Clemente Award. The award annually recognizes the player "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."
Fittingly, the most recent recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award will be present for the occasion: Andrew McCutchen, the first Pirates player to win the award since Willie Stargell in 1974.
"We very much look forward to bringing 2015 Roberto Clemente Award-winner Andrew McCutchen and the rest of the 2016 Pirates to Roberto's homeland to take on the Miami Marlins before the passionate baseball fans in Puerto Rico," Coonelly said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Marlins to make this great opportunity possible for our players and fans."
The two games will be the first regular-season games played in Puerto Rico since the Marlins and Mets played a three-game series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in June 2010. They will be considered home games for the Marlins.
This will be the Pirates' first trip to Puerto Rico since July 8-11, 2004, when they played a four-game series against the Montreal Expos.