Rays Star Calls wearing the number 21 on Roberto Clemente’s “An Honor” Day
Nelson Cruz won’t play for the team that nominated him for the Roberto Clemente Award on Wednesday, but that won’t make wearing Clemente’s number any less special.
The Tampa Bay Rays designate hitter called wearing the No. 21 “an honor” while sharing an image of the jersey he wore for Roberto Clemente Day in their game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
As well as being one of the most special players to ever don a baseball uniform, Clemente was also known for his philanthropic efforts off the field, and Major League Baseball has presented the Roberto Clemente award every year since 1973. to the player who best represents baseball through his character. , community engagement, philanthropy and positive contributions on and off the field.
The MLB considers the Clemente Award to be baseball’s most prestigious individual honor. Despite being traded to the Rays on July 22, Cruz was nominated for the Minnesota Twins for his “huge impact on the organization and the Midwestern region throughout his two and a half years in Minnesota,” according to A press release. press release announcing his appointment on Tuesday.
Cruz was nominated for the award for his vital work in Minnesota and his native Dominican Republic, including sending doctors, medicine, and supplies for residents to receive care and also sending money for Dominicans can afford to comply with stay-at-home orders mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He cited a quote from Clemente as an inspiration for his important work.
MLB will announce the winner of the 2021 award, which will be determined via online fan voting, during the World Series.
MLB has celebrated Roberto Clemente Day every September 15 since 2002, as the date marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, and announced on Wednesday that it will remain on the MLB calendar in perpetuity.
In conjunction with the 20th edition celebration, MLB allowed award nominees, previous winners, Puerto Rican-born players and other approved players to don the No. 21 Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder during the their matches on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Cruz added ahead of the Tampa Bay game on Wednesday. “This number means so much to baseball and us Latin players.”
Cruz will join Rays pitcher and team nominee Ryan Yarbrough as members of the numbered squad while the other Rays sported a jersey patch with Clemente’s number 21 on their sleeve. Blue Jays nominee Bo Bichette wore number 21 and was joined by teammates Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer and Jose Berrios as well as Toronto manager and Puerto Rico native Charlie Montoyo.
Players who were able to wear Clemente’s number have expressed their enthusiasm for doing so. But Houston Astros wide receiver Martin Maldonado, who like Clemente is from Puerto Rico, has asked the MLB to remove No. 21 from the league, as it did for No. 42 from Jackie Robinson in 1997.