Players will wear No. 21 to honor The Great One on Sept. 15.
Wednesday begins Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. It also marks the day when Major League Baseball honors one of the greatest players to ever put on a big league jersey, Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente.
Clemente is still revered by players across MLB, not only Latino players. The award that bears his name is given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” It is voted on by baseball fans and members of the media.
On Wednesday — the 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day — all Puerto Rican players in Major League Baseball will be allowed to wear No. 21 to honor Clemente.
Two of the more prominent players of Puerto Rican descent — Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez of the Mets — will wear No. 21 as teammates for the first time.
This year, MLB will also allow all uniformed personnel of Puerto Rican descent, the six active players who are Roberto Clemente Award recipients as well as all 2021 Roberto Clemente Award nominees, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera.
Rivera also reports that this year, any player can request to wear No. 21, as long as the club is given enough notice to create the uniform. Last year, the entire Pirates team wore No. 21 to honor the franchise icon.
The Great One
Clemente is, still, arguably the greatest right fielder to ever play. During his career in Pittsburgh he won 12 Gold Glove Awards and appeared in 15 All-Star Games. He won three National League batting titles, was named the NL MVP in 1966 and was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1971 World Series.
Sadly, Clemente died in a plane crash on his way to deliver supplies to the recovery efforts after a huge earthquake in Nicaragua on New Year’s Eve in 1972. His final hit was the 3,000th of his career.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame waived the five-year waiting period and inducted him posthumously after his passing.