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It Was All About Number 21

MLB

Flushing, N.Y. – Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor wore Number 21. Other Mets including Tomas Nido, Seth Lugo, Edwin Diaz, Carlos Carrasco, coach Ricky Bones, and Pete Alonso Wednesday night at Citi Field also.

The Mets along with the Cardinals and Major League Baseball once again honored the legacy of Roberto Clemente. Alonso is the Mets’ nominee for the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award attributed to outstanding humanitarian efforts off the field.

The Mets, though, continued their tailspin and all hopes for a postseason are just about gone after the Cardinals completed a three-game series sweep at Citi Field.

“It’s tough to get swept and it’s tough to lose games against teams that you’re fighting for a spot,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said.

The Cardinals put the hurt on early and never looked back in their 11-4 win. But Roberto Clemente and his legacy were felt at Citi Field. The Mets wanted to win this game as the reality has set in that time is not on their side falling five games from a NL Wild Card. The Cardinals continued their late season surge, 7-3 in a current 13-game stretch.

And Roberto Clemente with Number 21 was on the Citi Field video boards, also worn on various players of the St. Louis Cardinals.This was a Mets loss but the night was all about a legacy.

‘It’s a huge honor,” Paul Goldschmidt said. The Cardinals’ first baseman was designated as the 2021 Roberto Clemente Award nominee for his volunteer work visiting children’s hospitals in Phoenix and St. Louis.

He said about Clemente and his legacy of helping others in need, “Everyone in the game knows it. And a lot of people outside the game both what he did on and off the field, especially off the field, just really caring and loving on people. It means a lot, just thankful for it.”

Regardless of the player who wins the award, MLB should be commended again for honoring the legacy of Roberto Clemente and Number 21, and Latino Sports continues to push an effort to have his number retired.

However, that is for another time. Wednesday night was all about the legacy.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, a native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, recently announced an agreement to play his 19th and final season in 2022. He ranks 7th in all-time games played (2,135) among Puerto Ricans, and 9th in career hits with 2,104. He is a past recipient of the award.

Molina, last year with number 21 on his sleeve for Roberto Clemente Day, hit a two-run homer against the Tigers in his first at bat. Wednesday, against the Mets, he reached base once and stranded four runners.

But the only number that mattered was 21. Molina is a previous recipient of the award (2018) as are former Cardinals Carlos Beltran (2013) and Albert Pujols (2008).

Molina and Lindor played for Runner-up Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. They were focused on a game, also on the Roberto Clemente legacy and 20th annual tribute to the first Latino inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Image Credit: Chris Simon Photos

Lindor said again “Wearing the number on this day is super special. It shows our roots. MLB does the right thing every year.”

The eventual goal is every MLB player will eventually have the number on the back of their jersey or on their sleeves next year on Roberto Clemente Day. But, as we know, that is a matter of logistics and MLB has put that under consideration.

In the meantime, the Mets continued their struggle on the field and the Cardinals have become a team to watch in the final two weeks of this stretch to the postseason.

But all about winning and losing does not compare to the legacy of Roberto Clemente.

Rich Mancuso: Twiter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    September 17, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Great read on the #21 being all over Citi Field.

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