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Even though his death was more than 30 years ago, his presence is still felt in baseball and beyond. A statue of Clemente stands outside the Pirates’ stadium in Pittsburgh, and the city renamed a bridge after him in 1999. In 2002, Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Allan H. (Bud) Selig, announced that September 18 would be celebrated as Roberto Clemente Day among all Major League teams. In 2003, President George W. Bush awarded Clemente the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which his widow, Vera Clemente, accepted.

Heritage and tirelessly devoted his time to those less fortunate. The country’s new governor postponed his inauguration while boats and divers searched for Clemente. One of the divers was Manny Sanguillen, the Panamanian baseball player who 38 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY had come to view Clemente as an older brother. But Clemente’s body was never found. On January 4, 1973, a church in Pittsburgh and the church where Clemente and his wife had been married, San Fernando Church in Carolina, held Mass at the same time so that his family, friends, and many fans could grieve for him together.

This was nearly three times as many home runs and twice as many RBIs as he’d had the previous season. In 1966, Clemente signed a $100,000 contract to play for the Pirates—he was one of the few baseball players to earn this much money. After 10 long years of proving himself, Clemente was voted National League MVP in 1966. This proved that Clemente’s abilities and commitment were recognized by people beyond his team and the city of Pittsburgh. He felt proud to be recognized for his achievements and knew 28 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY Clemente received the 1965 National League batting champion award.

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