Thursday’s game contrary to the Toronto Blue Jays was a particular one for the Tampa Bay Rays. On Roberto Clemente Day, the Rays fielded a lineup of most Latino hitters, that was an initial in MLB history.
The Rays’ nine-man lineup included players from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. Every one of them wore No. 21 without name on the trunk to honor the legendary Clemente.
Clemente was a Hall of Fame player with a jaw-dropping MLB resume. In his 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clemente totaled 3,000 hits, made 15 All-Star games, claimed four NL batting titles, won two World Series titles and was named the 1966 NL MVP.
As great as he was on the field, Clemente also made immeasurable contributions to the planet as a humanitarian. Clemente died in 1972, at age 38, while flying emergency supplies right down to Nicaragua carrying out a massive earthquake.
For the Rays players, it had been an excellent possibility to honor somebody who served being an inspiration in their mind. First baseman Harold Ramrez said the players with a Latino background compare him to Jackie Robinson, another baseball legend.
“It is a essential day for all of us, because he’s special for each and every Latin guy. He’s like Jackie Robinson for all of us,” Ramrez said, via MLB.com. “Everybody was discussing him. They feel pleased with him due to everything he did outside and inside of baseball.”
Last season, only Roberto Clemente Award nominees and former winners, alongside players of Puerto Rican descent, were permitted to don his No. 21. This season, the Rays felt it had been vital that you expand the set of eligible players, in accordance with manager Kevin Cash.
“Our guys were pretty passionate about any of it and said, ‘Look, you want to represent it inside our own way,'” Cash told MLB.com.
Not merely was it a historic day for the Rays, however they also got a large win having an 11-0 drubbing of the Blue Jays to keep their position in the AL Wild Card race.