Retire 21 Movement Gets a Push From Puerto Rico • Latino Sports


Retire 21 Movement Gets a Push From Puerto Rico


San Juan, Puerto Rico – Prior to the Puerto Rico Series between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins there were several community events throughout the island to help promote baseball and to help the island still suffering from post hurricane Maria.

One such event was to place a commemorative sign near the coast overlooking the ocean where Clemente’s plane crashed. The sign has been sponsored and supported in part by stateside congress folks Nydia Velázquez (D, NY), Luis Gutierrez (D Chi.) and José Serrano (D NY). The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló Jr. was in attendance and took the opportunity to uplift the retire 21 movement by telling commissioner of baseball, Rob Manford, “That its time to retire number 21.”

The Governor added his comments to thousands of others throughout the island and the mainland that have been pursuing this for a long time.

We in Latino Sports travelled to Pittsburg for the July 11th, 2006 All Star game to officially announce the formation of the Retire 21 movement to help retire Roberto Clemente’s number 21 from all of baseball. When we arrived in Pittsburg with little resources everything opened up for us when the locals learned that we were about to commence a national movement to help retire Roberto Clemente’s # 21.

We were reminded in the streets of Pittsburg where we immediately hit to collect the first signatures for this movement that they do not call him, Clemente, they call him, “The Great One.” We were also invited to host our press conference at a converted firehouse, Engine House 25 that featured a great display of Clemente photographs, many by the legendary Pittsburg photographer, Les Banos who was also a friend of Clemente. The firehouse is now also in part a Clemente museum.

The Governor of Puerto Rico also stated during the presentation, “I am 100% in agreement. Like Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente represents much more than the game for the Hispanic community, which today dominates baseball. He represented the best of baseball, but at the same time the best of humanity. He was a phenomenal player, but even more, he was a phenomenal human being.”

1st time in 28 years that the award is given in PR. (Photo Hector W. Rodriguez/Latino Sports)

Latino Sports was in Puerto Rico covering the games and to give Francisco Lindor his owed 2016 Latino MVP award and Roberto Pérez his recognition award for playing in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. We also have been having conversations with MLB on several issues related to the growing Latino population and the future of the game; Retire 21 has been one of them.

We are pleased with our conversations and believe that MLB will eventually do the right thing. The fact that they helped to facilitate giving the LatinoMVP award in an on field ceremony to Lindor is a sign that they are legitimately interested in working closer to our community. The on-field presentation to Lindor was a historic event because though the award was born in Puerto Rico in 1990 when many felt that Ruben Sierra was overlooked for the 1989 American League MVP by the BBWAA it has never been given in Puerto Rico until now.

About Julio Pabón

Julio is President and Founder of Latino Sports LLC., the parent company of Julio is a product of the South Bronx where he still lives and runs his businesses. Julio has written and has been interviewed for numerous publication and networks on sports & political issues. He has been an activist promoting social justice and respect for all communities. He is a recognized motivational speaker, was an adjunct professor of American History and presently volunteer's as a lecturer in local South Bronx High Schools. His primary goal is to make a multi-facet sports portal that will engender social and economic empowerment to the Latino community.

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