Wednesday was Roberto Clemente Day across MLB, honoring the Hall of Fame Pirates outfielder known as much for his philanthropy and activism as his terrific baseball exploits.
Puerto Ricans throughout MLB wore number 21 to honor Clemente on Wednesday, as well as some others. Shin-Soo Choo, the Rangers’ nominee for the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award, also wore 21 against the Angels on Wednesday, as did his teammate Elvis Andrus.
“I think everybody would be proud to wear number 21 on a given day annually. I think it’s great,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said on a conference call.
Angels catching coach José Molina, who is from Puerto Rico, said he never wore uniform number 21 out of respect to Clemente.
“He is the best Puerto Rican player ever. A lot of people look up to him what he did in the field,” Molina said on a conference call. “I like to look at what he did off the field. I mean a really humble guy that likes to give to other people.”
Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas made the case, as many others have done, that Clemente’s number should be retired across baseball.
No…today only those born in Puerto Rico will honor the ‘everlasting legacy’ of Roberto Clemente by wearing the #21. Everyone else has the option of wearing a patch. Makes no sense & there’s no benefit to anyone by limiting it. #Retire21 https://t.co/vG8OJFCWPD— Victor Rojas (@VictorRojas) September 9, 2020
Rojas and Fox Sports West analyst Mark Gubicza both wore Roberto Clemente jerseys as part of their broadcast of Wednesday’s Angels game.
On the Fox Sports West pregame show, Angels broadcaster Jose Mota interviewed his father, Manny Mota, who called Clemente the greatest Latin American player in baseball history.
Angels reliever Felix Peña honored Clemente as well on Twitter:
Today we honor baseball great Roberto Clemente, The first Latin American player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973 and a Man of outstanding character and courage. Thank you Roberto. #RobertoClementeDay #21 #robertoclemente pic.twitter.com/ElS9e8JdLv— Felix Peña (@FELIX_P60) September 9, 2020