Roberto Clemente Day, a cherished MLB legacy

September 15 in Major League Baseball is “Roberto Clemente Day” in honor of the late Pittsburgh Pirates legend. Former commissioner Bud Cilic declared it Roberto Clemente Day in 2002.

On this day, Pittsburgh players wear Clemente’s retired number 21. Players who receive the Roberto Clemente Award, MLB’s symbol of service and good deeds, also wear No. 21. Other players and coaching staff wear a small 21 patch on their chests to honor the late player.

Clemente was an outstanding outfielder from Puerto Rico. He reached 3,000 hits in his 18-year MLB career. He had a career batting average of .317, 240 home runs, 1305 RBIs, and 83 stolen bases. He was a 15-time All-Star and a 12-time Gold Glove winner.

In 1966, he won the National League regular season MVP award, and in 1971, he won the MVP award along with the World Series title. In seven WS games, he batted .414 (12-for-29) with two home runs, four RBIs, and three runs scored.

He was killed in a plane crash on December 31, 1972, while flying relief supplies to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua. He was just 38 years old. MLB inducted Clemente into the Hall of Fame the following year. He is the first Latin American player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The HOF requires at least 10 years of MLB experience and five years after retirement to become a member. However, Clemente was considered a special case because he died in service. He’s in the HOF on merit. There are two other special case HOFers in MLB history: Clemente and Lou Gehrig, the New York Yankees’ Iron Horse.

Gehrig, who was diagnosed in 1938 with a mysterious disease that caused his muscles to contract (Lou Gehrig’s disease), retired after playing eight games in 1939 and was inducted into the Hall that year at Yankee Stadium after delivering baseball’s version of the “I’m the happiest man on earth” retirement speech. Gehrig’s number 4 was the first retired number in American sports. It became a tradition and has been practiced in all sports.안전놀이터

MLB created the award in 1971 to recognize players for their commitment to sportsmanship and community service. After Clemente”s death in Nicaragua, it was renamed the Roberto Clemente Award. The recipients of the award are fan favorites both on and off the field.

Last year’s honoree was Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, now of the Boston Red Sox. Pittsburgh players honored were first baseman Willie Stargell in 1974 and outfielder Andrew McCutchen in 2015. Stargell is a legend in the Hall of Fame.

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