For the second straight year, the Pirates visited a local elementary school in conjunction with their annual Roberto Clemente Day celebration. Manager Clint Hurdle and his entire team spent time with the children at Pittsburgh Faison Pre K-8 Elementary School-Primary Campus in Homewood on September 13 and presented them with school supplies. Last year, the Pirates visited Pittsburgh King Pre K-8 School on the North Side as part of this initiative, which celebrates the life and community service legacy of Pirates Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente.
During the Pirates' stop at Faison Elementary, the children attended an assembly where they had the opportunity to hear Vera Clemente -- Goodwill Ambassador for Major League Baseball and widow of the late Roberto Clemente -- along with her sons Roberto Jr. and Luis, speak on the importance of giving back to the community. There was also a chance for the youngsters to meet Pirates players, coaches and front office executives. Then following the assembly, the players unloaded a truck full of more than $20,000 in school supplies.
In addition, during a special pregame ceremony at PNC Park the following day, the Pirates 2011 Roberto Clemente Award was presented to pitcher Jeff Kartsens as the organization's Major League player who best combines outstanding skills on the baseball field with devoted work in the community. Besides the award itself, he was presented with a framed, vintage replica Clemente jersey. Karstens and 29 other players -- one from every club -- became eligible to win the 2011 Major League Baseball Clemente Award, which was later presented Boston's David Ortiz.
"We remember and honor Roberto Clemente's legacy every day by striving to instill the values that he exemplified in all of our players at every level within the organization," Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting said. "We cite a quotation of Clemente's often: 'Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, you're wasting your time on earth.'"
Prior to the Pirates-Cardinals game on September 14, the team also recognized one player from each of its minor league affiliates as the recipients of the fourth annual Pirates Community Commitment Program awards. The program encourages players to emulate Clemente's legacy of community service.
In 2011, nearly 250 players in the Pirates minor league system participated in the program and more than 3,000 hours of community service were performed. Every player completed a minimum of 10 hours of community service in their respective affiliate locations.
The players who best represented their teams and received the award included: outfielder Gavi Nivar (third straight year), GCL Pirates; infielder Robertson Valdez, Dominican Summer League Pirates; pitcher Tyler Waldron, West Virginia Power; outfielder Adalberto Santos, Bradenton Marauders; catcher Matthew Skirving, State College Spikes; pitcher Aaron Pribanic, Altoona Curve (second straight season); pitcher Brian Burres, Indianapolis Indians (second straight season).
Finally, the first all-minority line-up in Major League Baseball history -- which the Pirates fielded on September 1, 1971 -- was also recognized during pregame ceremonies on September 14. Members of that line-up who were present for the tribute included infielders Dave Cash and Jackie Hernandez, outfielders Gene Clines and Al Oliver, and catcher Manny Sanguillen plus the family of Roberto Clemente. That afternoon, all Pirates players and field staff wore 1971-style caps when they took the field against the Cardinals. The caps were later auctioned off online, with the proceeds benefitting Pirates Charities' Clemente Day initiatives.