PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pirates legend Roberto Clemente was on a mission of mercy to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, when his plane went down in the Atlantic New Year’s Eve 40 years ago.
“The Great One” is now remembered in timeless film, shot by KDKA photographers in decades past.
Priceless 16 mm memories are now stored at the University of Pittsburgh film archives, in Point Breeze. The collection includes treasures that had been tucked away, and largely forgotten.
“A few highlights of Roberto Clemente,” Miriam Meislik, Media Curator at the Archives Service Center, said as she cued-up reel-to-reel images of an athlete who performed with power and grace.
“You can hear people talk about what a great ballplayer he was, and what a great human being he was,” Meislik said. “But to actually see it really drives that home.”
In one clip, Clemente recalls old Forbes Field and the 1960 World Series.
“I came out into the field and the street around Forbes Field, I would say I enjoyed the victory with the fans,” he said. “I would have to say that was one of my biggest thrills here in Forbes Field.”
The curator says she recently came across a treasure that had been tucked away, in obscurity, for years.
Watch the unedited footage below:
“I found the footage of them cleaning out Clemente’s locker after his accident,” Meisilik said. “This clip aired on the 6 p.m. news on January second, 1973. And they are shooting scenes of Clemente’s locker, and packing up the contents of his locker. His cleats and his jersey, they’re putting into this trunk. I don’t know what they’re going to do with it. Ship it off or put it in storage.”
Perhaps the most poignant depicts Clemente’s stool, standing alone, beside an empty locker.