All Major League Baseball clubs, on September 18th, celebrated the first annual “Roberto Clemente Day”.
This will mark the Inaugural year of a league-wide effort that has been initiated to honor the memory of Roberto Clemente, and coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations that began September 15th. As part of the tribute, the local recipients of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock will be recognized at each Club’s home game on September 18th. The balance of the awards will be given when the road teams return home. The national recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award presented by John Hancock will be chosen from among the 30 Club honorees, and announced during the 2002 World Series.
“It has been almost thirty years since Roberto Clemente’s untimely death,” said Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “He will be remembered as a great baseball player and humanitarian. To honor his legacy, we have designated this special day to not only remember Roberto, but to honor those players who have contributed so much to their communities.”
“On behalf of our family, we are very honored to have Major League Baseball celebrate the first annual Robert Clemente Day” said Mrs. Vera Clemente. “It will be a very special day because this tribute coincides with the thirtieth (30) year anniversary of his unfortunate departure. We would like to acknowledge and thank our friends at John Hancock Financial Services for their participation in perpetuating Roberto’s on and off the field contributions while recognizing so many deserving players representing each MLB team.”
Since 1970, Major League Baseball has annually presented the Roberto Clemente Award (formerly the Commissioner’s Award) which recognizes the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team. In 1973 following Clemente’s tragic death, the Award was renamed.