Reporting Dave Crawley
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the surprise of the year in Major League Baseball. And they paid a surprise visit Tuesday morning at Spring Hill Elementary School.
Principal Todd Van Horn says teachers weren’t even told about it until the last minute. Meanwhile, their visitors bask in the glow of a limelight that was dimmed for 20 years.
“To come here and put a smile on these faces and see them get all excited, it’s a lot of fun,” said Pittsburgh native and Bucs second baseman Neil Walker.
“This wasn’t about comfort coming here,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “This was about a challenge, and it’s about re-bonding a city with its baseball team.”
Vera Clemente and her two sons were also there. It’s Roberto Clemente Day, honoring a Pirate legend that died on a long ago mission of mercy.
“The years passed,” Vera said. “It’s been many years; it’s over 40 years now, and it seems like it was yesterday.”
The Pirates brought treasure, a gift bag for each student and 70 iPads for the school.
Pirates President Frank Coonnelly says the team shares the legacy of The Great One.
“We need to live up to that legacy, so giving back and making a difference in the lives of others is part of what we’re all about,” he said.