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Roberto Clemente recorded 3,000th hit 50 years ago today

The Great One remains the Pirates’ most recognizable player of all time.

New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Morris Berman/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s a moment that has lived on for generations in Pittsburgh Pirates history.

It was the last and one of the most memorable hits at Three Rivers Stadium for the most recognizable Pirate of all time.

50 years ago today, Roberto Clemente recorded his 3,000th hit with a double into the left-center field gap against the New York Mets in what became his final regular-season at-bat.

The City of Pittsburgh is recognizing ‘The Great One’ by proclaiming Sept. 30, 2022, “Roberto Clemente Day” and dedicating the old Three Rivers Stadium home plate and second base bag in his honor.

Clemente died in a plane crash off the coast of Puerto Rico on New Years’ Eve 1972 in an attempt to deliver relief efforts to Nicaragua following an earthquake.

Major League Baseball honors Clemente every September 15 with teams and players wearing No. 21 in his honor. Clemente is the most impactful Latin American baseball player of all time and the first to reach the hit total. He continues to draw attention for his number to be retired alongside Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 for the remainder of time.

The double made Clemente the 11th player of all time to reach the plateau and stands at the gate to welcome new members sitting directly on the historic milestone.

The Hall of Fame bypassed its typical waiting period for retired players and immediately inducted Clemente into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.

A 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove winner, the owner of four batting titles, a two-time World Series winner, and 1966 NL MVP, Clemente proudly dawned the Pirates logo for 18 years between Forbes Field and Three Rivers.

The Clemente Award is named after the dedicated humanitarian as one of baseball’s highest honors. Each team names a recipient - the 2022 Pirates representative being Mars native David Bednar - with the purpose of recognizing the player that displays the best “character, community involvement, philanthropy, and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years since Clemente last took the field for a regular-season Pirates game. 50 years is a long time, but if you ask anyone, baseball fan or not, walking around the concourse who No. 21 was and represents, time feels like it was just yesterday for many Pirates fans growing up in the 1960s and 1970s who idolized Clemente as the proudest man on earth.

I tip my cap to you, Roberto.