STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Senator M. TERESA RUIZ
District 29 (Essex)
Respectfully requests that Major League Baseball retire the number 21 in honor of the life and career of Roberto Clemente.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
A Concurrent Resolution respectfully requesting that Major League Baseball retire the number 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente.
Whereas, Roberto Clemente-Walker was born on August 18, 1934, in Carolina, Puerto Rico; and
Whereas, For 18 seasons, from 1955 through 1972, Roberto Clemente played Major League Baseball and wore the number 21 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he excelled as an athlete, and as a human being; and
Whereas, Clemente’s accomplishments as a major league baseball player include: collecting 3,000 hits, winning four National League batting titles, a .317 lifetime batting average, and 12 Gold Glove awards, making him arguably the best defensive right fielder of all time; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente confronted and overcame the dual obstacles of racism and language to become the first dark-skinned Latino to achieve unquestioned superstar status as a Major League Baseball player; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente’s career was marked by unselfish caring, compassion, and a willingness to give of himself, thus personifying a genuine compassion and humanitarian concern which survives as a role model today’s athletes would do well to emulate; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente exhibited a passion for young fans, becoming a role model for all players, but particularly for Latinos who played with him and against him, and for succeeding generations of players, who owe him a debt which can never be repaid; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente was the acknowledged leader on the field of the 1971 World Champion Pittsburg Pirates, a diverse international collection of gifted and talented athletes who helped usher in a new era in professional baseball; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 1971 World Series, then made history by addressing a national television audience in Spanish during the clubhouse celebration; and
Whereas, Following the 1972 baseball season, Roberto Clemente organized a relief effort designed to provide emergency assistance to the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake; and
Whereas, In order to ensure that essential supplies reached those for whom they were intended, Roberto Clemente decided to fly to Nicaragua on a cargo plane – a mission from which he would never return; and
Whereas, On December 31, 1972, the plane carrying Roberto Clemente crashed into the sea, and all on board perished; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, becoming only the second player for whom the five year mandatory waiting period was waived; and
Whereas, Roberto Clemente’s life and death were heroic, as demonstrated by his concern for others, his courage in the face of danger, and the nobility and pride with which he carried himself; and
Whereas, Thirty-five years after his death, Roberto Clemente’s memory is revered and appreciated, even by those who never had the privilege of watching him play, and know little about the game of baseball; and
Whereas, The legacy of Roberto Clemente extends beyond the Island of Puerto Rico and the Latino Community, and his most significant contributions to a better world are recorded in the history books, not the baseball record book; and
Whereas, Major League Baseball is in desperate need of positive heroes and role models at a time when the integrity of the game is under assault, as it has not been since the infamous “Black Sox” scandal; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):
1. The Legislature of this State does hereby respectfully request and call upon Major League Baseball to retire Roberto Clemente’s number 21 as both a fitting tribute to a remarkable athlete and human being and as a testament of the best that America’s “National Pastime” has to offer.
2. Duly authenticated copies of this concurrent resolution, signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly, and attested by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the General Assembly, shall be transmitted to Major League Baseball and to Commissioner Allen “Bud” Selig.
This Senate concurrent resolution respectfully requests that Major League Baseball retire the number 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 18 seasons in a highly successful baseball career, from 1955 through 1972. He overcame the dual obstacles of both racism and language to become the first dark-skinned Latino player to achieve superstar status.
On December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente was killed in the crash of a plane on a relief mission to provide emergency assistance to the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the following year.
At a time when baseball is in need of positive heroes and role models, when the integrity of the game is under assault, the retirement of Roberto Clemente’s number 21 would serve as a fitting tribute and a testament of the best of America’s “National Pastime.”