Roberto Clemente, the 1966 NL MVP, was picked for 15 All-Star Games.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — The Pirates celebrated Roberto Clemente Day by giving back to the community.

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The organization worked with small businesses and local nonprofits leading up to Wednesday, helping those most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Pirates organization hosted a meal and mask distribution, worked with Humane Animal Rescue to host a pet supplies shopping spree and visited first responders to thank them for their dedication to the community.

The Pirates and all Puerto Rican players are wearing No. 21 on Wednesday during Major League Baseball’s Roberto Clemente Day celebration. Roberto Clemente Jr., son of the late Hall of Famer, said he received a text from Pirates third base coach Joey Cora on July 29 at the behest of Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton, asking whether all Pirates players could wear the number.

The No. 21 is also etched into the grass in right field at PNC Park. Clemente spent 18 seasons in right field for Pittsburgh. Before the game, a moment of silence was held for Roberto’s wife Vera Clemente, who died last year.

President Donald Trump called for MLB to retire Clemente’s No. 21 in a tweet from his verified account.

“Today we join millions of baseball fans and Puerto Ricans in celebrating Roberto Clemente’s life and his immense contributions to baseball and equality. He was one of my all-time favorite players – Roberto had everything! #ClementeDay #Retire21,” the president said.

Joe Biden also had high praise for Roberto Clemente, sharing a message on his verified Twitter account.

“Roberto Clemente was an incredible baseball player. He was a barrier breaker and a humanitarian. As he rose to fame, he lifted the Black and Latino communities with him,” Biden posted. “I may be a Phillies fan, but I’m always proud to honor the legacy of #21.”

MLB home teams on Wednesday are also honoring their nominees for the Clemente Award, given annually during the World Series to a player who best represents baseball through character, community involvement, philanthropy and contributions on and off the field. Josh Bell is the Pirates’ nominee.

Roberto Clemente, the 1966 NL MVP, was picked for 15 All-Star Games. He died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, following takeoff from Puerto Rico on a flight to bring relief supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake.

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