Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets players, coaches to all wear No. 21 on Roberto Clemente Day

ByMarly Rivera ESPN logo
Thursday, September 8, 2022

NEW YORK -- All players and coaches for the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets will wear No. 21 jerseys during their game Sept. 15 to commemorate Roberto Clemente Day, it was announced Thursday.

The 2022 season marks the 50th anniversary of Clemente's tragic death in a plane crash while on a mission to bring humanitarian aid to people affected by a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua.

The Pirates honored the Hall of Famer's life and legacy in the same manner during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

Clemente will be honored across the league on Sept. 15, with all players and on-field personnel wearing a "21" patch on their uniform sleeves, with nominees for the Clemente Award noting their recognition on their patches.

Last year, MLB extended the honor of wearing No. 21 to all uniformed personnel of Puerto Rican descent, and allowed any player, regardless of heritage or place of birth, to request to wear the number on that day as long as the club is given enough notice to create the uniform. In addition, all 2022 Roberto Clemente Award nominees, as well as any active players who are recipients of the award, can also choose to wear the No. 21 on Sept. 15.

As they have done throughout the 2022 regular season, all active Roberto Clemente Award winners will have the "21" patch on the back of their caps in recognition of the distinction.

The Mets have six players of Puerto Rican heritage in their roster: four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor, closerEdwin Díaz, relievers Seth Lugo and Mychal Givens, and catchersTomás Nidoand Michael Pérez.

As part of the events commemorating Roberto Clemente Day at Citi Field, Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and former Mets player Carlos Delgado will join retired Clemente Award winners and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in a food-packaging volunteer event to honor Clemente's philanthropic legacy. The past winners also will be recognized by members of the Clemente family during a pregame ceremony at Citi Field.

The award recognizes players' humanitarian endeavors as much as on their on-field performance. The Puerto Rican-born Clemente, the first Latin American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, is a venerated figure for his achievements on and off the field.

Clemente died in a plane crash at age 38 on New Year's Eve 1972. Months after his death, Clemente was only the second player to have the mandatory five-year waiting period waived for Hall of Fame induction.

As a player, Clemente 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.

Many players have advocated for Clemente's No. 21 to be retired across baseball, as MLB did with Jackie Robinson's No. 42.

The first Roberto Clemente Day was observed by MLB in 2002, and it has been celebrated annually across baseball each September since, with Sept. 15 named as the official date last year.

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