When you look back on your life, it is easy to reminisce and say “I wish I had the chance to do this.”
Whether it be see a band live, travel to a certain part of the world or whatever; there are things in life we wish we had the opportunity to do.
For me, being the baseball nut that I am, one of those things I wish I had the opportunity to do was to see the great Roberto Clemente play.
It has been 40 years since New Year’s Eve in 1972 saw the tragic end to Clemente’s life in a plane crash where he was attempting to deliver aid to those affected by the massive earthquake in Nicaragua.
Many people define the word hero differently, but Clemente was a true hero- a guy who gave his life to do the right thing for others.
While I never had the opportunity to see Clemente play, I grew up in a household where my father loved Clemente and I got to hear all the stories of how great the man was both on and off the field.
When I was in third grade I had to write a report about an inspirational figure in life and I chose to do mine on Clemente, a guy I had never seen play.
Clemente had that rare ability to not only touch the generation he played in, but those that followed as well.
Nowadays, athletes are worshiped for one reason or another, but Clemente was truly one of a kind. That’s why 40 years to the day of his tragic death; he is still highly regarded, not only in the city of Pittsburgh, but all across baseball.
That’s why it is great that the Pittsburgh Pirates will never let anyone forget about him.
There are constant reminders everywhere: from the Clemente statue outside of PNC Park, to the 21-foot wall in right field, to his No. 21 being retired, to bridge outside of the stadium named in his honor and so on.
Forty years from today, people should still be talking about the great man that Clemente was.
Hopefully the Pirates will continue to never let anyone forget.