Roberto Clemente Day: MLB expands list of who can wear No. 21 to Pirates, Puerto Rican players, award nominees

Major League Baseball will celebrate their 20th annual Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday. MLB has honored the late Hall of Fame’s charitable efforts in mid-September every year for the past two decades. and according to ESPN’s Marley RiveraThe league has expanded the roster of personnel that can wear No. 21 in honor of Clemente.

Last season MLB allowed all Puerto Rican players to wear No. 21 on Roberto Clemente Day, although there were no fans during the pandemic. This year, all uniformed personnel (including coaches, managers, etc.) from Puerto Rico may wear No. 21, as well as all past Roberto Clemente Award winners and this year’s Roberto Clemente Award nominees.

On Wednesday, all players, coaches and managers will wear the Roberto Clemente Day patch on their jerseys. Here are the details from Rivera:

It was also the first time Pirates, the team that Clemente played for his entire career in the Hall of Fame honored the life and legacy of the “Great”, with each team member wearing a # 21 on their uniform.

This year, any player, regardless of origin or place of birth, will also be able to request wearing No. 21 if the club receives enough notice to create a uniform.

Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972. The plane was carrying humanitarian aid from his hometown of Puerto Rico to Nicaragua after a massive earthquake. The Pirates retired at number 21 immediately after Clemente’s death, and the Hall of Fame dropped the mandatory five-year waiting period for his induction.

Every year since 1971, the Roberto Clemente Award has been presented to the player who best represents baseball through “exceptional character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on and off the pitch.” Carlos Carrasco, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Albert Pujols, Anthony Rizzo, and Adam Wainwright six current laureates of the Roberto Clemente Prize.

On Tuesday, MLB announced each club’s nominees for this year’s Roberto Clemente Awards. Among the nominees there are Miguel Cabrera, Nelson cruise, Trey Mancini, Salvador Perez, Max Scherzer, Mike Trout, and Joey Votto… This year’s Roberto Clemente Award winner will be announced in the offseason.

This season, 18 Puerto Rican footballers have participated in the opening day squads, including Javier Baez, Jose Berrios, Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor… MLB has three Puerto Rican-born managers: Alex Cora (Red sox), Dave Martinez (Citizens) and Charlie Montoyo (Blue Jays).

Clemente played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues, all with the Pirates, from 1955 to 72. He was a career .317 / .359 / .475 striker with 240 home runs and exactly 3,000 hits, and he was a great right-back with one of the strongest hands the game has ever seen. Clemente was 38 years old when he died.

MLB announced Wednesday that September 15 will be Roberto Clemente Day on a permanent basis.

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