Should MLB retire Roberto Clemente's No. 21? | The Tylt
Should MLB retire Roberto Clemente's No. 21?
Robert Clemente left an indelible mark on Major League Baseball. He was a 12-time all-star, won four National League batting titles and won 12 straight gold gloves for his work in right field. He batted over .300 for his career, amassed over 3,000 hits and was the first Latin or Caribbean player to win NL MVP, World Series MVP and a World Series title as a starter.
But his best achievements may have occurred off the field, where he was a humanitarian. Growing up in Puerto Rico, Clemente knew the struggles of growing up poor and looked to help wherever he could. But his drive to help others eventually led to his death, when a plane en route to help Nicaraguans crashed with Clemente onboard.
Still, he has inspired many to follow in his footsteps of using his platform to help others. MLB's humanitarian award is named after him, and he is still revered today.
Should MLB retire his number across the league like Jackie Robinson's?
Retiring a number across MLB is not a common event. Jackie Robinson remains the only player to hold the honor. However, if anyone deserves to be right there with Robinson, it's Roberto Clemente.
Not only was Clemente one of the most productive players the league has ever seen, he was one of its greatest representatives off the field. He was always the first to lend a helping hand to impoverished communities across the world. His presence in the league inspired many Latino and Caribbean players to make the jump to MLB.
A man of that stature with the kind of impact he had deserves to be recognized by the rest of the league for eternity. It's time to retire No. 21.
No one is overlooking Roberto Clemente's contribution to MLB, but a league-wide jersey retirement carries a lot of weight. While Clemente did a lot of great things, equating his humanitarian efforts to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier is not appropriate. Robinson's history-making presence in the league should be recognized in a special way, and that way is being the only league-wide retired jersey.
Clemente helped a lot of people through his philanthropy. Many lives probably changed by coming into contact with him. Still, he was not the reason people of color are now playing in an entire sport. He was a great man, but Clemente should not have his jersey retired across the league.