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Baseball lost Roberto Clemente 40 years ago today

By December 31, 2012

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Today is the 40th anniversary of one of the worst days in baseball history.

On Dec. 31, 1972, a plane carrying relief supplies to earthquake-striken Nicaragua crashed into the Caribbean Sea, killing Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, one of the greatest players ever.

Clemente, 38, had his 3,000th hit in his final at-bat of the 1972 season. And there's an interesting side story to the tragedy with a tie to the current Pittsubrgh Pirates. Tom Walker, a teammate of Clemente's in winter ball in Puerto Rico, wanted to help unload the plane in Nicaragua, but Clemente insisted he stay behind.

Walker had a son 13 years later, Neil Walker. He's the Pirates current second baseman and a rising star at age 27.


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