TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) respectfully requesting that Major League Baseball retire the number 21 in honor of baseball legend Roberto Clemente was approved unanimously yesterday by the full Senate.
Approval of the resolution follows the June 3rd unveiling of a bronze statue in Newark honoring the life of Clemente, a Hall of Fame inductee who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 18 seasons, and was killed in a plane crash on a relief mission to bring supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. The 8-foot-statue is located in Essex County Branch Brook Park in the North Ward, where Clemente’s family members were joined by city and state officials and thousands of fans to celebrate his life.
“Forty years after his death, Roberto Clemente is revered and appreciated, even by those who never had the privilege of watching him play,” said Senator Ruiz. “While he was a gifted and talented athlete, he was a man recognized outside of the game for his compassion, generosity and humanitarian concern for people in need. For that reason, he continues to serve as a role model to children in the Latino community, to Newarkers and to people across the globe. Retiring his number is a fitting honor for a man who made such tremendous contributions to the world of baseball and to the world as a whole.”