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Dear commissioner, let number 21 be forever untouchable

To Mister Robert Manfred Commissioner of Baseball

Dear Mister Manfred

            First, I would like to say hello and introduce myself. My name is Alfredo Alvarez. I was born in Cuba, and 8 years ago I left my country looking for freedom and a better future for my family. I really appreciate how you’ve helped my country by bringing baseball clinics to the island, reuniting players that left the country, like me, with their fans back home. The reason for this letter is not precisely related to my country but to the Latino community, and the man who, for more than 50 years, has put our name on the top: Roberto Clemente.

Roberto is not just a baseball star, or a Hall of Famer. Clemente is a hero. The greatest Latino to ever wear a baseball uniform. The legacy he has left is one of the greatest that this sport has ever seen. That’s why, in my name, and millions of fans who support the idea, we request that the number 21 be retired from all baseball forever. You said on July 2016 that this is not in your plans, but I truly insist you reconsider this.

Many people have tried for years to make this happen, but for some reason you, and previously Mister Selig, are not taking this into consideration, or simply don’t want to. Why? 

Some people, who have opposed this idea, argue that if Clemente’s number were to be retired in all baseball, the number 3 of Babe Ruth, should also be removed, but with the greatest respect to the Bambino, who I consider to have been a living legend, his achievements and actions off the field are far from being close to Roberto. Actually, I can wholeheartedly say that Clemente’s actions off the field surpassed his numbers on a baseball diamond.

Jackie is credited with breaking the color barrier. But Clemente, in addition to suffering racism, broke the language and cultural barrier. As a player, Robinson was great, but in numbers, Roberto beat him in several categories. Like Jackie, Clemente fought for human rights. And despite being mistreated, not only for the color of his skin, but also for his accent, mocked by journalists in articles written to destroy his image, he demonstrated his level of class by showing his talent on the field. Even when they called him Bobby, something dishonorable, and undoubtedly a great lack of respect, he never lost his temper and grace. The social conscience of Clemente was remarkable.  Please find below a list of the 23 players who wore number 21 last season. As you can see, outside of Luis Torrens (Venezuela), there are no Latin players on the list because this petition is not coming from just me, or the million fans who hold his legacy dear. It is also a petition from the majority of Latino players in baseball, including figures, like David Ortiz among others, who have requested this from the League.  

Players wearing number 21 in 2017

       Player

         Team

Clay Buchholz

   Philadelphia

Jason Castro

   Minnesota

Brett Cecil

    St Louis

Yu Darvish

   Dodgers

Matt den Dekker

    Detroit

Lucas Duda

      Mets

Lucas Duda

     Tampa

Taylor Featherston

     Tampa

Derek Fisher

   Houston

Todd Frazier

  White Sox

Conor Gillaspie

 San Francisco

Zach Greinke

     Arizona

Brandon Kintzler

   Washington

Michael Lorenzen

    Cincinnati

Jonathan Lucroy

     Colorado

Taylor Motter

      Seattle

Michael Saunders

      Toronto

Travis Shaw

    Milwaukee

Trayce Thompson

     Dodgers

Luis Torrens

    San Diego

Stephen Vogt

   Oakland

Christian Yelich

    Miami

Mark Zagunis

     Cubs

  Mr. Manfred, the way MLB is honoring Roberto is not enough. A retired number in Pittsburg, a plaque in Cooperstown, a bronze statue, and an award with his name are great honors, but other players have it. None of them lost their lives helping strangers. And none of them, with all due respect, were the kind of man that Roberto Clemente was.

For us Latinos, Roberto is not only our Jackie Robinson, he is also our Mohamed Ali. He did way more than hitting, running and throwing. His bravery changed our community forever. His golden heart changed many lives while he was alive and has changed millions since he passed away.

Retiring his number will not only bring him the recognition he deserved but it will also break barriers in a sport that every day is more ‘’Latino’’.

I will be collecting signatures with no rest until a million of them are registered. I really hope you consider our petition and finally give Clemente the honor he deserves, more than anybody in the history of this game. Maybe GOD never wanted us to find his body because he is giving Roberto the immortality he gained.

Clemente once said “When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth.’’ Please Sir, let that uniform with that number 21 be forever untouchable.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I really hope you get to read this letter, and look forward to your response.

God Bless you and God Bless Baseball

Best Regards

Alfredo

To sign this petition click here:

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/roberto-clemente-number-21-have-to-be-retired-from

 

Alfredo Alvarez
Alfre Alvarez, conocido como “El Cirujano del Béisbol”, creador del blog: “Con Las Bases Llenas” (https://conlasbasesllenas.com), escribe para 990 ESPN Deportes, Sports Made in USA, Empire Sports Media y la revista “Pisa y Corre”. Locutor y co-creador de Radiografía Deportiva, un programa radial deportivo en NMMiami.com y además creador y locutor de los podcast: “Con Las Bases Llenas” y “La Semana de los Bombarderos”.
https://conlasbasesllenas.com

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