Yadier Molina will wear new jersey number Thursday in honor of Roberto Clemente

All Puerto Rican MLB players will be allowed to wear the No. 21 in celebration of the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day.

Sam Masterson
September 08, 2020 - 10:43 am

*This story originally reported that Molina would wear the No. 21 jersey on Tuesday. That has been changed to reflect that he will wear the number on Thursday instead.

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be among the first Major League Baseball players to honor Roberto Clemente with what is likely to be a new tradition. 

On Thursday, the catcher will wear the No. 21, which was the number the Hall of Famer wore for all but one of his 18 MLB seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's part of a new plan on the 19th annual Roberto Clemente Day.

"It is an extraordinary honor and a source of great pride for all of us to have the opportunity to wear No. 21 to honor Roberto Clemente on this great day," Molina told ESPN's Marly Rivera. "For all us Latinos who have played Major League Baseball, and have had to deal with so many obstacles, difficulties and challenges, Clemente is the source of inspiration we need to move forward and pursue our dreams and be an example to others on and off the field.

"We hope this day continues to perpetuate the remarkable legacy of No. 21."

Related: Molina on the Legend of Fellow Puerto Rico Native Roberto Clemente
Related: Yadi Wins 2018 Roberto Clemente Award

We could see Nos. 21 both on the mound and behind the plate, as pitcher Andrew Miller also wears No. 21 for St. Louis.

All Puerto Rican players will be allowed to wear No. 21 on Wednesday and Thursday, similar to MLB’s celebration of Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 each April 15. 

Roberto Clemente Jr., son of the late Hall of Famer, said he received a text from Pirates third base coach Joey Cora on July 29 at the behest of Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton, asking whether all Pirates players could wear the number on Sept. 9.

"We are very, very fortunate that someone took that initiative, and it was Derek Shelton and Joey, a very proud Puerto Rican who has always been there pushing the envelope inside," Clemente Jr. said Monday, according to the Associated Press. "There was some pushback, but the players’ association and the players really thought it would be great."

All Pirates players and coaches will wear Clemente's No. 21 for Roberto Clemente Day and all MLB players have the choice to wear a patch with the No. 21. The Clemente Day logo will also be emblazoned on the bases and official dugout lineup cards.

Clemente was the 1966 NL MVP, he played in 15 All-Star Games, won 12 Gold Gloves and four batting titles. He died in a plane crash on Dec, 31, 1972, following takeoff from Puerto Rico on a flight to bring relief supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake.

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