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Sharon Robinson: honor Clemente some other way

1/24/2006 - MLB

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.