© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/10/06 4:15 PM ET

Habitat, MLB build house No. 21

Construction project helps hurricane victims, honors Clemente

PITTSBURGH -- Roberto Clemente's sons, Luis and Roberto Jr., joined Major League Baseball and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday to celebrate the 21st Habitat for Humanity house built as part of the league's Gulf Coast hurricane relief and rebuilding efforts.

The construction project at Point State Park, in the midst of the All-Star festivities downtown, started on Sunday and will be completed on Tuesday. Following All-Star Week, the house will be packed up and transported to Lafayette, La., for a family affected by the 2005 hurricanes.

Hall of Famer Clemente played his entire career with the Pirates, from 1955-72, and he wore the No. 21. So, while not intentional, it seemed only fitting that the 21st Habitat house would be built in Pittsburgh.

"While he was known as a spectacular ballplayer, he was just as great if not a greater humanitarian and would have been devoted to exactly these kinds of causes had he been with us today," said MLB's executive vice president, business Tim Brosnan. "It's a privelege to have the Clemente sons and their father's legacy here with us today in Pittsburgh -- it just makes the building of this home all the more special."

Luis and Roberto Jr. were happy to see MLB and the Pirates bring the rebuilding effort to Pittsburgh.

"I think it's great -- ironic that it is [house No.] 21 and we're here for the All-Star Game," said Roberto Jr. "The way that my father lived his life ... everything seems that it was really written for him -- his legacy after all these years, the passion that he had toward other people -- this [project] is something that is part of who he was, and we're very proud to be part of it."

In addition to the Clemente brothers and Brosnan, many other dignitaries attended the construction event: MLB's senior vice president, advertising and marketing Jacqueline Parkes, former Pirate Bill Madlock, Pirates senior vice president and CFO Jim Plake, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Habitat for Humanity International's Chris Clark and MLB's official All-Star Game artist Burton Morris.

Morris painted the door of the Habitat house prior to the event with a theme of hearts to help convey MLB's caring and concern for the hurricane victims. Then the dignitaries each signed the door at the celebration.

"I wrote a little special message there that I hope my father's spirit is always with them and God bless, so I think being the 21st house, it should have a very special meaning to [the family] who gets it," Luis said. "I truly believe that things don't happen by pure coincidence. ... It just makes all the sense in the world [being in Pittsburgh]. We're very happy."

Each day throughout the project about 20 Habitat volunteers, primarily from Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, will be at the park building the house. Once it's completed, it will be carefully dismantled and shipped. Then it will be reassembled for its new family when it reaches Louisiana.

Many MLB teams around the country have taken part in the Habitat rebuilding initiative, which began at the 2005 World Series in Houston, continued at various sites during Spring Training, the World Baseball Classic and now throughout the first half of the 2006 season.

Baseball fans can join MLB in supporting Habitat for Humanity by calling 1-800-Habitat or visiting www.habitat.org to volunteer time to the organization in their local communities or to make a donation.

Christie Cowles is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.