Some MLB Players Wearing #21, All Wearing 21 Patches Today for Roberto Clemente Day

Major League Baseball players, coaches, and umpires will be honouring the life of Roberto Clemente today throughout the league in recognition of Roberto Clemente Day.

As part of the celebrations, all players will be wearing a white patch featuring Clemente’s number 21 in the black and gold of the Pittsburgh Pirates on their sleeves. Additionally, Puerto Rican players, as well as any past Clemente Award winners and nominees, will have the option to wear the number 21 on the backs of their jerseys in place of their usual numbers during games today.

The entire rosters of the Pittsburgh Pirates (the team for whom Clemente spent his entire Major League career) as well as their opponents tonight, the New York Mets, will wear the number 21. The game will be broadcast nationally on Fox at 7 p.m. ET.

Since Clemente’s untimely death in a plane crash during a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua in 1972, no Pirates player has worn 21. The team retired the number at their home opener in 1973, reserving its future use only for any of Clemente’s children, should they reach the big leagues.

Clemente’s son Luis came the closest to achieving this, playing seven games for the Pirates Gulf Coast League team in 1985.

The pride of his native Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente played eighteen seasons in the big leagues, all of which were with the Pirates, from 1955 through 1972. During that time, Clemente was selected to the National League All-Star Team a dozen times, won the NL MVP Award in 1966, accumulated exactly 3000 hits, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum by way of a special election (waiving the customary five-year waiting period) in 1973.