While wearing Roberto Clemente’s No. 21, Yadier Molina hit a home run on Thursday
The Cardinals took their turn at Clemente Day, with Molina perhaps the most impactful player on the roster wearing the Great One’s No. 21, meant to honor both he and Vera Clemente, who passed away in the last calendar year. Both Clementes meant to much to the Latin baseball community, and more specifically Puerto Rico, where Clemente was born and raised. Puerto Rico continues to benefit from the Clementes’ relief efforts, with generations of professional baseball players growing up hoping to be the next Roberto.
Molina has long adored the Clemente family, like many Latin MLB players, and hitting a home run while wearing his number is a dream come true.
Molina spoke of the honor in wearing Clemente’s number on Tuesday
“It is an extraordinary honor and a source of great pride for all of us to have the opportunity to wear No. 21 to honor Roberto Clemente on this great day,” Molina told ESPN. “For all us Latinos who have played Major League Baseball, and have had to deal with so many obstacles, difficulties and challenges, Clemente is the source of inspiration we need to move forward and pursue our dreams and be an example to others on and off the field.”
Molina’s tale is a reminder that Latin players still face many obstacles in their journey to the major leagues. Clemente is an inspiration to all of them because he paved the way long before it was acceptable.