PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – He started hearing the stories when he was a kid coming to PNC Park. His father would walk him by the Roberto Clemente statue and tell him about the player and the man.
For a second consecutive year, closer David Bednar in the Pirates nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. Since 1973, the award recognizes the MLB player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.
“It’s humbling, what he achieved on the field, off the field and I try to carry on his name the best I can,” Bednar said.
Tuesday at a news conference kicking off the ‘3,000’ exhibit honoring Clemente his son Roberto Clemente, Junior talked about what makes Bednar a great nominee.
“(Bednar) is a natural candidate from the get-go,” said Roberto Clemente, Junior. “He continues to do a great job on, but also off the field. We wish him luck.”
“That one kind of gave me chills a little bit,” Bednar said. “That was incredibly special for him to say that. It was incredibly kind. Honestly, just trying to continue that legacy on and try to represent the Pirates and the Clemente name the best I can.”
“It ought to be something that is part of what we do as Pirates,” said Pirates GM Ben Cherington. “David exemplifies that certainly as much as anyone. Throughout the minor leagues we try to make sure service is part of the process of growing up as a Pirates player. We have maybe one of, if not the, ultimate examples of that in baseball with Roberto and the Pirates. It’s a pretty easy beacon to follow.”
“I think it’s incredible what they are doing to keep the legacy going and how big he was here,” Bednar said. “Really it’s really what he did-the accomplishments on the field are obviously incredible, it’s even more impressive what he did off the field. To preserve that legacy and be how he was here. It’s something that is so deep rooted in Pittsburgh and something everyone should inspire to be.”
Clemente, Junior is part of the voting for the award and said it’s actually a very tough job when you get the packet of information for every candidate. Then you look at just a few of the names and think of their impact on the game.
· Miguel Cabrera-in his final season
· Salvador Perez
· Mike Trout
· Jorge Soler
· Carlos Correa
· Aaron Judge
· Kyle Schwarber
· Paul Goldschmidt
· Vladimir Guerrero, Jr
He is a winner regardless of if he gets the national honor.
“We wish David the best of luck and hope Cutch, and Willie Stargell, can have company winning the award,” Clemente, Junior said.