All Puerto Rican players in Major League Baseball will once again be allowed to wear No. 21 to honor Roberto Clemente on September 15, and this time it will be in front of fans.
MLB has awarded the honor to all uniformed personnel of Puerto Rican descent this year for the 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day. In addition, all nominees for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021 as well as the six active players receiving the Roberto Clemente Award may also carry No. 21, sources told ESPN.
During the pandemic shortened 2020 season, when teams played in empty ball fields, MLB allowed all Puerto Rican players to wear No. 21 to honor the late Pittsburgh Pirates star for the first time after the Clemente family approved the use of the.
It was also the first time the Pirates, the team that Clemente played throughout his Hall of Fame career, honored the life and legacy of “The Great One,” with each member of the team wearing No. 21 on their uniforms.
This year, it will also be possible for any player, regardless of inheritance or place of birth, to request to wear No. 21, as long as the club receives sufficient notice to create the uniform.
All MLB players, managers and coaches will wear a No. 21 patch to commemorate Clemente’s legacy. The Clemente Day logo will also be embedded on the bases and official dugout lineup cards.
A league source also told ESPN that September 15 will be announced as the official date to celebrate Roberto Clemente Day forever. In the past, it has been celebrated across baseball in early to mid-September.
St. Louis Cardinal’s All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, 39, the longest-serving active Puerto Rican-born major leaguer, called wearing No. 21 last year an “extraordinary honor” and “a source of great pride.”
“For all of us Latinos who have played Major League Baseball and have had to deal with so many obstacles, difficulties and challenges, Clemente is the source of inspiration we need to move forward and pursue our dreams and be an example to others and from the field, “Molina told ESPN.” We hope that this day continues to uphold the remarkable legacy of No. 21. “
Former Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets slugger Carlos Delgado was the last Puerto Rican born player to carry No. 21 for most of his career. No Pirates player had worn No. 21 since Clemente’s death until last season.
The Puerto Rican-born Clemente was the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and was an honored figure for his performances on and off the court. He was a 15-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove winner, member of the 3,000-hit club, four-time batting champion and National League and World Series MVP.
Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972, when he was accompanying a cargo plane leaving San Juan, Puerto Rico, in an attempt to bring humanitarian aid to people affected by a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua. Months after his death, Clemente became only the second player in MLB history to have the mandatory five-year waiting period waived for Hall of Fame induction.
At the start of the 2021 season, there were 18 Puerto Rican-born players on the opening day lists, the second highest in total since 20 in 2011.
This list includes: Javier Baez (Mets); Jose Berríos (twins); Víctor Caratini (Padres); Willi Castro (Tigre); Carlos Correa (Astros); Edwin Díaz (Mets); Enrique Hernandez (Red Sox); Joe Jimenez (tiger); Francisco Lindor (Mets); Jorge Lopez (Orioles); Martin Maldonado (Astros); Molina (cardinals); Michael Perez (Pirates); Roberto Perez (Cleveland); Eddie Rosario (Braves) and Christian Vazquez (Red Sox). There are three MLB leaders of Puerto Rican heritage, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox, Charlie Montoyo of the Toronto Blue Jays and Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals.
MLB calls the Roberto Clemente Prize “the most prestigious individual honor for great employees” awarded to players representing the game through “extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”
Previous winners of the Roberto Clemente Award on active rosters include last year’s receiver, Adam Wainwright (Cardinals), Carlos Carrasco (Mets), Molina, Anthony Rizzo (Yankees), Andrew McCutchen (Phillies), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and Albert Pujols (Dodgers). )).
All 30 nominees for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award will be announced by MLB on Tuesday. Among those on the list are Trey Mancini of the Orioles, Jason Heyward of the Cubs, Joey Votto of the Reds, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigre, Salvador Pérez of the Royals, Mike Trout of the Angels, Nelson Cruz of the Rays and Pete Alonso of the meters.