Today is Sept. 15, which means MLB will be celebrating Roberto Clemente Day. Assuming they stick to the same basic approach as last year, here’s what you can expect to see on the field:
- All Pirates players will wear No. 21 and go NNOB.
- The Pirates’ opponents, the Yankees, will also all wear No. 21. (Last year, that’s what the Mets did.) [Update: Only Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are wearing No. 21 for New York.]
- Players from Puerto Rico will have the option of wearing No. 21.
- Past winners of the annual Roberto Clemente Award will have the option of wearing No. 21. The past winners who are currently active are Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (who won the award in 2012); Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen (2015; obviously, he’ll already be wearing No. 21 as a member of the Pirates); Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright (2020); and Red Sox third baseman Justin Turner (2022). Two other past winners — Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (2017) and Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco (2019) — are technically still active but have been shut down for the rest of the year due to injury. You can see a full list of winners here.
- Each team’s nominee for this year’s Roberto Clemente Award will have the option of wearing No. 21. You can see the list of nominees here. (The winner of this year’s award will get to wear “21” on the back of his cap for the rest of his career, just like Kershaw, McCutchen, Wainwright, Turner, Carrasco, and Rizzo have been doing this year. The protocol of past winners wearing the cap number began last season, obviously inspired by the NFL’s jersey patch for past winners of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.)
- Update: All players are wearing a 21 patch on their chests.
In addition, the Pirates have a slate of Clemente Weekend events on tap, and the Mets are using Clemente Day to host a pregame “Latinos in Sports” panel discussion as part of their Hispanic Heritage Night promotion.
Roberto Clemente Day comes exactly five months after Jackie Robinson Day — a nice way for MLB to bookend the beginning and end of the regular season. Also, 21 is exactly half of 42 — weird coincidence!