Joey Votto, Michael Lorenzen, Mychal Givens honoring Roberto Clemente

PITTSBURGH – There is a Robert Clemente Statue outside of PNC Park that many Cincinnati Reds walk past on their way inside of the ballpark.

They’ll have a chance to honor Clemente’s legacy Wednesday. It’ll be Roberto Clemente Day across the Major Leagues where all Puerto Rican players can wear No. 21, along with all the Roberto Clemente Award nominees and previous Roberto Clemente Award recipients.

The Reds will have three players wearing No. 21 on Wednesday: Michael Lorenzen, Joey Votto and Mychal Givens.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA; FILE PHOTO; Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente (21) poses for a portrait at Forbes Field.

Lorenzen already wears No. 21 in honor of Clemente. Votto is the Reds’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award this year, which is given to a player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” Givens is Puerto Rican and hopes to play for the country in the next World Baseball Classic.

A look inside why all the players are honoring Clemente on Wednesday:


Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) snags a come-back bouncing ground ball off the bat of Miami Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr. (2) in the ninth inning of the MLB National League game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Miami Marlins at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. The Reds took the lead and won, 3-1, on two solo home runs from Mike Moustakas and Tyler Naquin.

He changed his number from 50 to 21 before the 2016 season after he traveled to Puerto Rico and he met the Clemente family on a mission trip.

“We were at his house actually,” Lorenzen said. “Vera Clemente, his wife, had made us food, we were eating and we were just looking at some cool stuff that he used to wear and just different stuff like that. I was like it’d be so cool if I could wear No. 21 in honor of Roberto Clemente, that’d be awesome. Then we traded Todd Frazier a couple of weeks later. Right when that happened, I was like, ‘wow, I’m going to ask for the number.’ I remember sitting around the table and saying, ‘If I get the chance, do you mind if I wear No. 21 in honor of Roberto?’ She loved it. She loved the idea.

“I have some friends in town from when I went on a mission trip with the Clemente family out in Puerto Rico. They’re in town, so it’ll be nice to see them. It’s going to be extremely special and it’s pretty neat seeing other guys wear the number as we should.”

Jul 17, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers in the eighth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Lorenzen is in favor of retiring No. 21 across the sport like No. 42 is retired in honor of Jackie Robinson. Clemente was the first Latin player inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“He gave his life trying to help people. We need to put that on a pedestal because it’s something that is extremely admirable. So, yeah, retire his number. It cut his career short. He had an amazing career and he could’ve had a lot longer career as well, so retiring his number I think is a good idea.

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