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Pirates celebrate 17th Annual Clemente Day

How much Roberto Clemente means to the city of Pittsburgh and Pirates fans cannot be overstated. To Pittsburghers, the Hall-of-Fame outfielder was more than a ballplayer. He was a humanitarian who selflessly dedicated his life to helping others.

The bridge that connects Downtown Pittsburgh to the North Shore bears his name. The North Shore side of the bridge opens to a statue of "The Great One" as a welcome to the outfield gates of PNC Park. Several areas of the ballpark are reminders of Clemente -- including the right-field wall, which is 21-feet high in honor of his uniform number. 

Each September, the Pirates join the rest of Major League Baseball and pay tribute to Clemente's life and legacy with Roberto Clemente Day festivities. This year the celebration took place on September 5 when the Pirates participated in multiple events in the Pittsburgh area, spending time in the community and giving back in tangible ways. 

The team's Clemente Day CARE-a-van on the 17th annual Roberto Clemente Day included traveling to schools and community centers with Pirates players and their wives, coaches, front office executives, former players, and members of the Clemente family. 

Activities included:

  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit Latino Family Center Visit -- Those in attendance had the opportunity to mingle and enjoy Spanish cuisine with a Pirates contingent that included catchers Francisco Cervelli and Elias Diaz, outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, and pitchers Richard Rodriguez and Felipe Vazquez as well as Vera Clemente and son Ricky Clemente, and others. Pirates Charities also donated needed supplies to the Latino Family Center. Items included food for the center's pantry and clothing for youngsters. The food was donated with assistance from the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The AIU Latino Family Center supports and assists Latino families with the tools and resources they need to strengthen the family unit and raise healthy and happy children.
  • Shred Hate School Assembly at Brashear High School -- A Pirates group that included General Manager Neal Huntington, Manager Clint Hurdle, first baseman Josh Bell, pitcher Steven Brault, Luis Clemente and others visited Brashear High School to conduct a school assembly to educate students on Roberto Clemente's legacy, while supporting the Shred Hate curriculum. Brashear is one of 23 schools piloting the Shred Hate initiative, an anti-bullying program created by ESPN in partnership with No Bully and sponsored by MLB and The X Games. Pirates Charities is funding the implementation of the Shred Hate program in 12 of the 23 schools.
  • Miracle League Fantasy Camp at PNC Park -- Pirates infielders Adam Frazier and Colin Moran and pitchers James Taillon and Joe Musgrove were among those who served as instructors as adults with special needs from each of the local Miracle League programs supported by Pirates Charities rotated through skill stations to practice catching, fielding, hitting and more. 
  • Southwestern Veterans Center Visit -- Pirates coaches Kimera Bartee, Joey Cora, Dave Jauss, Jeff Livesy and Tom Prince visited military veterans and served as celebrity bingo callers. Pirates prizes were provided throughout the event as well as Rivendale chocolate milk and cookies. Southwestern Veterans Center provides health care and related services to veterans who are disabled, chronically ill, or in need of specialized care.
  • Fun at Bat Event at Conroy Education Center -- Catcher Jacob Stallings, infielder Kevin Kramer and pitcher Clay Holmes were among the Pirates players who took part in a Fun at Bat event with special needs students. Conroy Education Center provides a range of services to students ages five to 21 who have life skills support, autistic support and multiple disability support needs. The Pirates partnered with Pittsburgh Public Schools this year to incorporate Fun at Bat, an introductory bat and ball game created by USA Baseball, into the physical education curriculum.

Prior to the game against Cincinnati at PNC Park on September 5, Taillon was honored as the Pirates' 2018 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, the most prominent individual player award bestowed by Major League Baseball. The 26-year-old righthander also started and beat the Reds, 3-2, that night.

Afterwards, he tweeted: "A true honor to meet the Clemente family, and pitch in Pittsburgh on Clemente Day! Inspired to get even more involved in this incredible community going forward!"

During the Miracle League Fantasy Camp, Musgrove said: "Being new to Pittsburgh, a day like today is special to me because we get to come out and try to emulate who he (Roberto) was as a person for one day, and try to bring back his spirit and his joy for the day."