Nats DH Cruz, different Clemente Award winners put on ’21’ on caps | Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — Washington Nationals designated hitter Nelson Cruz pulled his sport day hat off a hook by his clubhouse locker Thursday to indicate {that a} “21” patch was stitched onto the again to honor Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente.

Like different winners of the humanitarian award named in reminiscence of Clemente, Cruz will probably be allowed to put on the late Pittsburgh Pirates star outfielder’s uniform quantity on his cap for the remainder of his main league profession. Cruz wears No. 23 on his jersey.

Major League Baseball introduced the initiative on Thursday, saying it was a “special tribute to (Clemente’s) enduring legacy.” The announcement was timed for the fiftieth anniversary of the 12 months through which Clemente died in a aircraft crash at age 38 whereas on a reduction effort to assist earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

“It’s a privilege. An honor. He means so much for baseball, in general. He was an example to follow – how to be professional, on and off the field. A remarkable player and a remarkable human being who lost his life trying to help others,” Cruz stated earlier than Washington’s opening day sport in opposition to the visiting New York Mets.

“He paid the ultimate price, and whatever we do is not enough.”

The Roberto Clemente Award is introduced throughout every World Series and given to a participant for “extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

“It means the world,” said Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who, like Clemente, is from Puerto Rico. “Everybody knows why you are wearing that number. It means a lot, for the player, for the families, for the organizations. I think it’s a great way to show respect to the individual.”

In addition to Cruz, active Clemente winners include Carlos Carrasco (Mets), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Andrew McCutchen (Brewers), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees) and Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright (Cardinals).

“The Roberto Clemente Award is easily the best award I’ve won in my career,” Rizzo stated. “Just representing him, having that recognition of his number on the forefront of a lot of players’ hats throughout the league will be will be in his honor. It’s very deserving because he served everyone else.”

Cruz stated he was contacted throughout spring coaching about whether or not he needed to put on the patch.

“Easy decision, no doubt,” he stated.


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed.


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