Senate passes bill to retire No. 21 in all baseball, softball leagues in honor of Clemente
By The Star Staff
The island Senate unanimously approved a measure co-authored by Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera that retires the number 21 from all baseball and softball sports programs and leagues, both amateur and professional, in order to recognize the immense work, on and off the diamond, of Roberto Clemente Walker.
“I am pleased to report that yesterday [Tuesday], the Senate, unanimously, approved Concurrent Resolution 15, which pays fair and well-deserved recognition to the deeds, both on and off the field, of our star, the immortal Roberto Clemente Walker,” Riquelme said in a press release. “When signed into law, this measure mandates the retirement of No. 21 from all baseball and softball sports programs and leagues, both amateur and professional, including those of the Department of Recreation and Sports (DRD).”
“We can talk about his career as a player for days, his 18 seasons as a member of the same team – something that does not happen anymore, his achievements such as reaching 3,000 hits, being the 11th of 12 players –- at that time -– in the history of baseball in the United States to achieve such an outstanding record,” the senator added. “In fact, he is one of just 33 members of this select group in a sport that began to be played in the mid-1800s. In addition, he was selected 12 times for the All-Star Game and has been a member of the Hall of Fame since 1973, but Roberto was much more.”
“He was a person of great faith, who always saw the best in people,” Riquelme continued. “His attachment to the causes of those most in need is one of the reasons why his legacy will never be forgotten. We see that desire to serve others in his work with the Little Leagues in Puerto Rico, with improving communities through sports. That was Roberto and that is why this Resolution continues to ensure his legacy.”
Clemente also participated in two World Series with great distinction. He was a four-time batting champion and the 1966 National League Most Valuable Player. He also won the Gold Glove 12 times and was Most Valuable Player in the 1971 World Series.
Riquelme said the measure, when it becomes law, will join efforts with the executive branch and with all Puerto Ricans to retire forever the use of the number 21 in the sports of baseball and softball, not only in DRD programs, but in all corresponding leagues.
Rep. Gretchen Hau Irizarry co-authored the resolution.