Family commemorates Clemente's 3,000th hit

Family commemorates Clemente's 3,000th hit

Family commemorates Clemente's 3,000th hit
PITTSBURGH -- Everywhere else, Roberto Clemente may be just an award. But here, Roberto Clemente is a person, a deeply revered part of the history of both the city and of its baseball team.

On Sunday, the 40th anniversary of The Great One's 3,000th base hit in Three Rivers Stadium, members of his family joined a brief pregame commemoration and re-enactment of the iconic moment.

"It is hard to believe it has been 40 years," Vera Clemente, the Hall of Fame ballplayer's widow, said in a quiet moment before strolling out to the middle of PNC Park. "Time just flies by so fast.

"Roberto had such a deep love for Pittsburgh. He would always tell me, 'If I ever got traded, I would just retire. I never want to play anywhere else but Pittsburgh.'"

Joining Vera Clemente for the occasion were sons Roberto Jr., Luis and Enrique, along with Steve Blass, the current broadcaster and former pitching great who was a longtime teammate of Roberto.

They congregated behind second base -- the spot where Clemente pulled up following hit No. 3,000, a leadoff double in the fifth inning off the Mets' Jon Matlack.

Joining them by jogging out of right field was Modesto Lacen, the actor who portrayed Clemente in the award-winning musical, "The Roberto Clemente Story."

Lacen stepped atop the second-base bag and recreated the Clemente cap-tip-and-wave that has become an enduring image.