Though Pirates legend Roberto Clemente died 43 years ago today, his legacy lives on.
Pirates' All-Star Andrew McCutchen took time today to pay tribute to Clemente, who was killed in an airplane crash right after takeoff off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, on Sunday, Dec. 31, 1972.
Clemente was on board to help deliver emergency supplies to Managua, Nicaragua, where a massive earthquake had hit on Dec. 23. His body was never recovered.
Earlier in October, McCutchen was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to the player who best represented the game of baseball on and off the field.
“Andrew McCutchen, you are a great ballplayer both on and off the field, and Roberto would have been proud to see you standing up here today,” Clemente’s widow, Vera — the league’s goodwill ambassador — said at the ceremony then.
Pirates' Andrew McCutchen gives Vera Clemente, Roberto Clemente's widow, a hug prior to pre-game ceremonies at PNC Park in September.
“It’s unbelievable to see the impact that he made,” McCutchen said. “I can only hope that I can do at least half that he did. I know that if he was here I think he would say that as long as I'm doing something, that's what matters.”