Roberto Clemente

Arts & Culture
12:21 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Two Musicals Trace The Life of Roberto Clemente

Two musicals are currently exploring the life of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente.
Credit The Associated Press

Roberto Clemente died on Dec. 31, 1972, but you’d never know it from the hundreds of people who show up to Pirates games wearing jerseys with his name and number — 21 — printed on them. 

Now two musicals will trace the life of "The Great One" from his childhood in Puerto Rico to his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates from the mid-50’s to his untimely death at age 38.

Composer Alki Steriopoulous to spend nearly a decade writing a musical about Clemente.

It's called "21."

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:37 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

The Great 21: Remembering Roberto Clemente

The statue of Roberto Clemente beside PNC Park is a memorial to the late player, who would have turned 80 years old today.
Credit Via Tsuji / Flickr

In October, a new play about Pirates legend Roberto Clemente is coming to Point Park University.

The musical, entitled 21, is written and composed by Alki Steriopoulos, who grew up in Pittsburgh. Steriopoulos began working on the play in 2007 but October will mark the debut of 21 as a full production.

Steriopoulos says he was compelled to write a musical about Clemente after writing a short story based on an incident where he first heard about Clemente’s death. After a New Year’s Eve party, Steriopoulos was falling asleep at the wheel. He had the radio on and woke up to the news flash of Clemente’s plane going down, just in time to avoid crashing into the back of an 18-wheeler.

“He had said, ‘If a man has the chance to make a difference in someone’s life, in life and doesn’t, then he hasn’t really been here.’ It started me thinking in so many ways, in fate or coincidence or synchronicity, everyone influences everyone else in ways sometimes that we can’t even know. In this case, I was here and was able to be a man and live a life because of Clemente’s death and there was no way that he could ever know that his death had saved my life.”

The musical focuses on Clemente’s life from his beginnings as a star in Puerto Rico until his death. Steriopoulos says the musical focuses on aspects of Clemente’s life that many may not have heard before. Clemente was especially influenced by the women in his life, including a deceased sister whose influence Clemente always carried with him as he played.

The musical 21 will premiere in Pittsburgh at the Playhouse Theater on October 17th and run through October 26th. It's presented by Point Park University’s Conservatory Theater Company.

Steve Blass and Clemente

Former Pirates pitcher Steve Blass also remembers Roberto Clemente on his 80th birthday. Blass was a teammate of Clemente's for nine seasons and together they led Pittsburgh to the 1971 World Series Championship.

Blass says Clemente was a guarded person as he tried to move beyond both the color stereotype and the language barrier between himself and the rest of the league. Despite these struggles, Blass remembers his former teammate as a kind person.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:39 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

The True Legacy of an Undying Hero

Luis Clemente
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

Devoted father, philanthropist and baseball hero Roberto Clemente holds an impressive number of personal and professional accomplishments. In addition to being the first Latin American baseball player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was the 1971 World Series MVP and a 12-time Gold Glove winner.

His family has written a new book, Clemente: The True Legacy of an Undying Hero, which reveals never-before-seen photographs and commemorates his legendary career through the voices of his children and wife.

His youngest son and co-author Luis Clemente says the book remembers his father for his loyalty, honesty and relentless courage.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:01 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

'Pops' Stargell Biography Highlights His Love for the City of Champions

Pops: The Willie Stargell Story by Richard "Pete" Peterson
Credit Triumph Books

National League and World Series MVP, Baseball Hall of Fame member and Pittsburgh Pirates all-time home run leader are only a few of the many titles held by the great Willie “Pops” Stargell. 

As a leader and advocate both on and off the field, Stargell remains one of the most beloved sports figures in Pittsburgh. His legendary status and continued admiration from baseball fans, prompted Pittsburgh native Richard “Pete” Peterson to author the player’s biography, Pops: The Willie Stargell Story.

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