Members of Roberto Clemente's family with former teammate Manny Sanguillen at the Clemente Musuem's annual fundraiser.

Members of Roberto Clemente’s family with former teammate Manny Sanguillen at the Clemente Musuem’s annual fundraiser.

Major League Baseball announced each team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award — the humanitarian award presented annually by the league in his honor — and will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday. But the celebration of his life and contributions began on Monday night when the Clemente family, fans and former teammates gathered at the Roberto Clemente Museum’s fifth annual fundraiser gala in “The Great One’s” adopted second home town of Pittsburgh.

“They were singing and dancing downstairs and playing the band’s instruments. The kids and grandkids are all very into music,” said Duane Rieder, the Clemente Museum’s executive director and curator.

The atmosphere was very much like being at a family party, which indeed it was. Clemente’s widow Vera spent most of the evening visiting and posing for pictures with just about every one of the approximately 150 people in attendance.

“Having this museum in Pittsburgh is a great honor for the family because we know how loyal and genuine the fans here in Pittsburgh have been for so many years. We’re happy that they have a place they can come to be with Roberto again,” said Vera Clemente, who was recently named a goodwill ambassador by Commissioner Bud Selig, and sits on the committee that reviews the applications for each team’s Roberto Clemente Award candidates.

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Visiting Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez and his girlfriend at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh.

Visiting Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vasquez and his girlfriend at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh.