To commemorate the 40-year anniversary of Roberto Clemente’s passing, MLB Network is airing a new feature on Roberto Clemente.
Narrated by Bob Costas, the feature looks back at Clemente’s playing career, his decision to assist in the relief efforts in Nicaragua, his tragic death 40 years ago on December 31, and the impact his life had on Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico and Latin America.
The piece includes exclusive interviews with friends Orlando Cepeda and Tom Walker, who was almost on that fateful flight, in addition to Pirates teammates Steve Blass, Dick Groat and Manny Sanguillen and historian Rob Ruck. Also included in the feature is archival footage from interviews with Clemente and footage from news reports on the plane crash and Clemente’s death.
Hat tip to Tim Shanahan of the MLB Network for sending us over the information.
Here are a few quotes below from the piece, as well.
Steve Blass on how exciting it was to watch Clemente play:
“He could turn a 10-year Major League veteran into a 10-year old kid because you didn’t want to miss a thing he did.”
Blass on the reaction when it was confirmed Clemente had died in the crash:
“To this day, it just seemed to me like the shoulders of the city of Pittsburgh slumped when it was confirmed. It was as simple as that and it was as devastating as that.”
Dick Groat on the loss of Clemente:
“It’s hard to believe you lost a friend that quickly, trying to do something good for people.”
Orlando Cepeda on the number of mourners in Puerto Rico:
“The only time that I’ve seen so many people gather was when the Pope came to Puerto Rico.”
Blass on Clemente’s legacy:
“There have been a few guys that played at different levels: a Mantle or DiMaggio or Willie Mays or Henry Aaron. Clemente was in that class.”