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Report: Puerto Rican MLB Players Allowed to Wear No. 21 on Roberto Clemente Day

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 6, 2020

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning in the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Puerto Rican players will reportedly be allowed to wear No. 21, regardless of what their actual number is, when Major League Baseball honors Roberto Clemente Day on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Marly Rivera of ESPN reported the news, noting other players can wear a commemorative No. 21 patch for the 19th annual celebration of Clemente.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario and Twins pitcher Jose Berrios can wear No. 21 on Tuesday since their teams do not play Wednesday.

"It is a great honor and a source of great pride for all of us to have the opportunity to wear No. 21 to honor Roberto Clemente on this great day," Molina said. "For all 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 on and off the field."

This comes after the Pittsburgh Pirates announced all of their players and coaches will wear No. 21 during their game against the Chicago White Sox on Roberto Clemente Day. The jerseys will then be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Clemente Foundation and Pirates Charities.

"Our staff and players are excited to wear the number 21 with pride as we constantly search for ways to not only honor Roberto's legacy but to keep his memory alive through our community actions," Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting said. "We recognize what this moment represents for all of us within the organization, the Clemente Family, our fans, and the people of Puerto Rico. We take great pride in representing such a great ambassador of the game."

Clemente spent his entire career with the Pirates from 1955-72.

He was an all-time great who built a resume that included two World Series titles, 15 All-Star selections, 12 Gold Gloves, four batting titles and a World Series MVP. The Baseball Hall of Fame elected to forgo the typical waiting period when it elected him into the class of 1973 following his death.

Clemente died in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, when he was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Nicaragua after an earthquake in its capital city of Managua. No Pirates player has worn No. 21 since.

Rivera noted the Clemente Family authorized the decision for Puerto Rican players to wear No. 21 in a letter that was signed by Clemente's children Robert Clemente Jr., Luis R. Clemente and Roberto E. Clemente.

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