Pittsburgh designates Sept. 15 as Roberto Clemente Day, weeklong events celebrate Pirates legend

From September 13 through September 15, 2021, special activities have been organized by the Roberto Clemente Foundation, the city of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates to celebrate September 15 as “Roberto Clemente Day” throughout Major League Baseball. 

The date was chosen in part to coincide with the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, the annual U.S. observance, from September 15 to October 15, which celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of Latin American citizens. 

Clemente Week Events 

  • Welcome Reception — Monday, September 13: Family, partners and guests from San Juan, Puerto Rico and beyond will launch Day One with a Welcome Reception hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates at scenic PNC Park. The event will feature a Q & A with Clemente family members. 6-9pm (Ticketed event, tickets may be obtained at 425-452-8597)
  • Community Service Event — September 14: Clemente Foundation board members, partnering with Blessings in a Backpack, will pack bags of food to feed kids over the weekend who attend Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania afterschool programs. 11:00am – 4600 Butler Street, Pittsburgh
  • Mayoral Recognition — September 15: Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto will present the eldest Clemente sons, Roberto Jr. and Luis the Key to the City at the Roberto Clemente Statue. 1:00pm, open to the public.
  • Roberto Clemente Day — On September 15th, officially Roberto Clemente Day, at the Pirates-Reds Game at PNC Park at 6:35pm, the Pirates will announce and recognize their 2021 Roberto Clemente Award nominee during pre-game ceremonies beginning at 6pm; Major League Baseball’s league-wide recipient will be announced at the World Series in October. Pre-game ceremonies will also
    include recognition of Duquesne University Roberto Clemente Scholars. For the second consecutive season all Pirates players and coaches will wear Clemente’s iconic number 21. The Pirates have organized two community service projects that will take place in the morning. 

“Roberto Clemente exemplified all the best parts of Pittsburgh. Not only was he one of the most talented players in baseball history, he was committed to his family and gave back to the global community. He created new standards here and we are glad to honor his memory and legacy this week. We are grateful for how he gave back to Pittsburgh and the continued work of the Clemente family,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. 

“Roberto Clemente Day is always an incredibly special day for the Pirates organization as the rest of Major League Baseball joins with us to recognize the greatness that was Roberto. We always look forward to joining with the Clemente Family to honor ‘The Great One’ and give back to the Pittsburgh community,” said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting. 

“I am excited and very emotional at the same time for this celebration,” said Luis Clemente, son of the late superstar and founding member of the Foundation. 

Clemente was a 15-time All Star. He was the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1966, the NL batting leader in 1961, 1964, 1965, and 1967, and a Gold Glove winner for 12 consecutive seasons from 1961 through 1972. His batting average was over .300 for 13 seasons and he had 3,000 hits during his Major League career, all with the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

He also was a two-time World Series Champion. Clemente was the first player from the Caribbean and Latin America to win a World Series as a starting position player (1960), to receive an NL MVP Award (1966), and to receive a World Series MVP (1971). 

Clemente was involved in charity work in Latin American and Caribbean countries during the off-season. He often delivered baseball equipment and food to those in need. On December 31, 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash at the age of 38 while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The following season, the Pirates retired his uniform number 21, and MLB renamed its annual Commissioner’s Award in his honor. Now known as the Roberto Clemente Award, it is given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” 

Foundation President Tom Brasuell said, “Fittingly, there are many fans worldwide of Roberto Clemente, both as a player and as a humanitarian. The Foundation is honored to lead the way in celebrating his legacy.” 

About the Roberto Clemente Foundation 

The Roberto Clemente Foundation is a 501.C3 non-profit organization founded to honor and perpetuate the legacy, legend and courage and character of Roberto and Vera Clemente. The Foundation maintains the values which Roberto embodied on and off the field of hard work, faith, love, service and helping those less fortunate. The Foundation promotes sport and play, particularly 

through baseball and softball and has conducted numerous clinics with several partners. In addition to hospital and school visits, the Foundation has led disaster relief efforts, military and veteran support initiatives, conducts equipment drives and supports the Clemente Cup for NAIA and Division III college baseball teams. For more information visit www.robertoclementefoundation.com 

About Roberto Clemente Day 

Roberto Clemente Day was established by Major League Baseball to honor the legacy of the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. In his honor, MLB annually presents the Roberto Clemente Award to recognize the player who best represents the game of Baseball through sportsmanship, community involvement and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Club nominees for this prestigious award are announced on Roberto Clemente Day each year. 

Photo source:  Craig Moe — Under Creative Commons License