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Outside The Confines: Everyone wore 21

The annual celebration of Roberto Clemente’s life did not end in his number being retired.

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Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Every year baseball celebrates the legacy of Roberto Clemente, both in giving out an award in his honor, celebrating the charitable and humanitarian efforts of players on all 30 teams, but also his incredible gifts as a player.

On Thursday, every player on every team sported a number 21 on their jersey, in honor of the Puerto Rican-born Clemente, who played 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and went on to become the first Latino player to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Clemente was an icon, an unstoppable force on the field, and a genuinely caring and wonderful person off of it. Many have suggested that his number 21 should be retired across baseball, much like that of Jackie Robinson, but to date that move has not been made. There were some rumors and rumblings that this Thursday might finally be the day, but it came and went with no announcement.

Clemente died tragically in a plane crash in 1972 at the age of 38. He was on his way to bring aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. His work and impact have lived on after him.

You’ll find a lot of Clemente links in the mix today.

  • A historic moment for the Rays, and baseball.

And tomorrow will be a better day, Buster. Make it so.