Indios de Mayagüez Retire #21 • Latino Sports

Caribbean Baseball

Indios de Mayagüez Retire #21


Mayagüez, PR: The Indios de Mayagüez baseball team, one of the most respected and formidable teams in the Puerto Rican Baseball League retired the #21 in honor of the great Puerto Rican baseball legend, Roberto Clemente prior to Tuesday’s game four of the playoffs against the Ponce Lions.


The modest event was held at the Aguadilla baseball stadium given that Mayagüez is temporarily without a stadium until 2010 when they will inaugurate a new stadium and sports complex in time for the 2010 Central American Games.

The ceremony was a last minute gesture that the mayor’s office organized after being approached by representatives of the National Retire 21 Campaign. The mayor, the Honorable José Guillermo Rodriguez is a sports enthusiast and was immediately convinced of the merits of retiring Clemente’s #21.

“Mayagüez and its mayor are interested in supporting the movement to retire #21 in honor of Roberto Clemente,” stated Julio Pabón, President of Latino Sports Ventures Inc., and National Coordinator of the Retire 21 Campaign. “We had been in conversation with representatives of the mayor’s office for some time and they had informed us that the mayor was very interested in supporting the campaign,” he continued.

Apparently the mayor was so interested in doing something for the campaign prior to the end of the baseball season that he instructed his office to retire the # 21 from the Mayagüez team since the team is presently under receivership by the Municipality. Once they had the green light to proceed they had to act quickly since the Mayagüez Indians were playing the fourth game of the playoffs on Tuesday January 12th, 2008 against The Ponce Lions who had a 3-0 advantage in the series.

The on field ceremony, though modest, was symbolic since it opens the door for every other team in the Puerto Rican Baseball League to perhaps follow suit. All the players and coaches from both teams lined up on the field for the unveiling of #21 that will now appear in the outfield wall near right field. There were no members of the Clemente family present, though they were invited to attend.

The Retire #21 Campaign will be working with the mayor’s office to organize a major event with the premiere of the documentary, and a resolution asking Commissioner, Bud Selig to retire the number from all of baseball.

Mayagüez has always demonstrated itself to be a very progressive city. The third largest in Puerto Rico and situated in the far Western end of the island they have many times been forgotten in the mix of things on the island. However, Mayagüez is the first to retire the number 21 from their baseball team and will be the first to premiere the film The Legacy of #21 – demonstrating that you can be number1 doing the right things.

About William Gerena-Rochet

William Gerena Rochet, is the former Latino Sports baseball editor. He is a retired NYC teacher who divides his time living between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started writing for Latino Sports during the inaugural World Baseball Classic when a series was played in Puerto Rico in 2006. On of his favorite moments was covering the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. During his time with Latino Sports, he covered several divisional and League championship series games and the 2009 World Series. He also covered the last game at the old Yankee stadium and the first game of the current one. In closing, William has covered multiples Latino Sports MVP Awards ceremonies and Spanish Language Press Conferences including the Jorge Posada retirement one. Now a contributor, Willie will occasionally cover the Yankees.