As a young kid, you always dream of growing up and playing for your favorite sports team. For Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, it’s a dream that has come true.
Walker, a Pittsburgh native grew up rooting for the black and gold but it was an exchange between Walker’s father and famed Pirates legend Roberto Clemente which unknowingly would save his unborn life.
See, Walker’s father, Tom, played Winter Ball with Clemente. The two were somewhat close and Tom decided to help Clemente load relief supplies into the plane that eventually crashed and killed the Hall of Famer in 1972. Walker was supposed to join Clemente on that plane, however, as documented by MLB Network, Clemente talked Tom out of the trip.
Just over a decade later, Tom and his wife welcomed their baby boy Neil, who without that faithful night, wouldn’t have been born.
It’s a pretty amazing story that seemingly comes full circle with Walker and the Pirates now a single victory away from the National League Championship Series.