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07/12/06 12:03 AM ET

Baseball honors Clemente

Outfielder gets Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award

PITTSBURGH -- With his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh as a backdrop, the late Roberto Clemente was given the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award prior to the fifth inning of Tuesday night's All-Star Game at PNC Park.

It was the 10th time the award has been presented and Commissioner Bud Selig gave it to Clemente's widow, Vera, during a brief ceremony at home plate.

"It was one of the great moments in my career," Selig told MLB.com in the aftermath of the American League's 3-2 victory in the ninth inning over the National League. "I have always had tremendous respect for Clemente, both as a person and a player. I can't tell you how emotional a moment that was for me."

Wearing his trademark No. 21, Clemente played 18 seasons for the Pirates from 1955-1972, amassing two World Series titles and 3,000 hits in the process.

The native of Puerto Rico perished on Dec. 31, 1972, when his cargo plane carrying food and clothing to victims of an earthquake in Nicaragua plunged into the ocean just off the coast of San Juan's Isla Verde.

"Roberto was a hero in every sense of the term," Selig said in his prepared remarks to the crowd, which afforded their fallen idol a long ovation before Selig stepped to the microphone. "He was idolized by fans here in Pittsburgh and Roberto will be remembered as long as the game of baseball is played."

Other recipients of the award include Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Roger Clemens and the 2001 Seattle Mariners squad, which tied the single-season record with 116 victories after losing Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez in successive seasons.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.