PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Roberto Clemente, Junior said he was emotional in talking to his mother and brother Luis recently. They were shown pictures of their father for a ‘3000 exhibit’ they mostly had not seen before. In honor of Clemente week at the ballpark, that display is free and open to the public outside of PNC Park between the Clemente and Willie Stargell statues.
“I’ve never seen any of these photos before,” Pirates GM Ben Cherington told 93.7 The Fan. “The photos of the rescue effort are particularly moving. Obviously, we know what happened, but to see the images of the efforts to find Roberto and cover the wreckage, I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
“The one that really struck me was the one of Vera (Clemente) looking for binoculars when they were doing the search,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “That’s something you don’t see and it hits you. It’s almost like walking into the (Clemente) museum and seeing the propeller, you’re not prepared for that. The heart-wrenching part of it, that picture stood out.”
“I think you all know the affinity I have and the passion I have to wear 21.”
The exhibit is a series of pictures mounted on nine separate display cases that when viewing from a distance form the number 3,000.
I talked to Roberto, Junior about a couple of the pictures in the display and what they meant to him. He looked at a picture of his father driving a convertible in New York and said he remembered when he almost fell out of the car and his father had to catch him. Clemente, Junior said the memory was so vivid he felt like he could still smell what it was like that day.
Another picture was the day before his plane left to carry relief supplies to Nicaragua, it showed Clemente as boxes were being stacked, ready to ship.
“It’s an amazing feeling to see those last days,” Clemente, Junior said.
He added he and his family are grateful to the Pirates for keeping his memory and legacy alive.
“It’s amazing how people react when they understand who I am,” Clemente, Junior said. “They will see me and they have to share their stories and what he meant to them. It’s always great to hear the stories and be able to see the jerseys and the kids are wearing jerseys. It’s pretty amazing and overwhelming at times.”
“Knowing Roberto Junior and seeing pictures of him when he was a kid with his dad,” Cherington said. “That’s pretty cool to see him in that environment. For someone who loves the game, a big fan or the game and art, this is a pretty cool combination of the two.”