The Tampa Bay Rays made history on Thursday afternoon when all of its starting hitters were Latino, the team said. To make matters sweeter, the lineup took the field on Roberto Clemente Day, all wearing the number 21 as a tribute to the star right fielder and Puerto Rico native.
The starting lineup was: Yandy Díaz and Randy Arozarena from Cuba; Wander Franco, Manuel Margot and Jose Siri from the Dominican Republic; Harold Ramírez from Colombia; David Peralta and René Pinto from Venezuela; and Isaac Paredes from Mexico, according to MLB.com.
The MLB celebrates Roberto Clemente Day each year. Traditionally, only those who have been nominated for or won the Clemente Award, players of Puerto Rican descent, and those who wore the number the previous year are permitted to don a 21 on their jersey, MLB.com reported.
But the Rays requested an exception from the league, asking that every Latino player and coach on its roster be able to wear Clemente’s number.
“Our guys were pretty passionate about it and said, ‘Look, we want to represent it in our own way,'” Rays manager Kevin Cash said, according to MLB.com.
The Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0 on Thursday.
All players and coaches on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets also wore Clemente’s number during their Thursday matchup, because Clemente played for the Pirates for 18 years.
While on the team, he recorded his 3,000th hit, and later became the first Latin American to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, according to MLB.com. Clemente died in a plane crash in 1972 while he was on his way to Nicaragua to deliver emergency relief supplies.