Sharon Robinson: honor Clemente some other way
NEW YORK -- The daughter of Jackie Robinson thinks Major League Baseball should not retire Roberto Clemente's No. 21, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.
The Hispanics Across America advocacy group wants Clemente's number set aside the way the late Robinson's No. 42 was nine years ago. But Sharon Robinson said that honor should remain for her father only.
"To my understanding, the purpose of retiring my father's number is that what he did changed all of baseball, not only for African-Americans but also for Latinos, so I think that purpose has been met," Robinson told the newspaper at a birthday celebration for her father in Times Square. "When you start retiring numbers across the board, for all different groups, you're kind of diluting the original purpose."
In September, Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson made similar comments, saying baseball should find another way to honor Clemente.
"Jackie Robinson was a very unique situation and historical," Robinson said. "Clemente did an awful lot of good things and was a terrific ballplayer, but I don't think it's the same type of situation as Jackie Robinson. And if you do it for him, where do you go? Where do you stop? Then you neglect someone and create some big controversy."
Major League Baseball has taken the effort to retire the late Clemente's number under advisement.
Sharon Robinson said she is close to the Clemente family and acknowledged that the Hall of Famer is an inspiration to Hispanic athletes.
"I totally think that Roberto's accomplishments should continue to be spotlighted and highlighted as a major part of baseball and American culture, as well as Puerto Rico's culture," she told the newspaper.
Clemente, a 12-time All-Star who had 3,000 hits for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died in 1972 at age 38 in a plane crash. He was taking relief supplies to victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake.
Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's number in 1997, the 50th anniversary of his debut as the first black player in the major leagues.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press