The Roberto Clemente Museum and advertising agency MARC USA are launching a national grassroots petition campaign to retire Clemente's number 21.
The campaign kicked off with volunteers outside the MLB All-Star game in Miami, FL on July 11 with iPads encouraging fans to sign the petition at Change.org. The Retire 21 campaign will visit other ball parks in July and August, including Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston.
The campaign also includes out-of-home promotional images in the yellow and black colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clemente's team, that appear on mobile billboards, transit signage, and guerrilla posters.
Roberto Clemente wore 21 for his 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, from 1955 until his untimely death on New Year’s Eve 1972 in a plane crash on a mission to bring supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. He was the first Latin American player inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
If the petition succeeds, Clemente’s number 21 would be only the second number retired for all of Major League Baseball. The League retired Jackie Robinson’s number 42 on April 15, 1997, the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s breaking the MLB color barrier.
“We hope to have at least 100,000 signatures by Roberto’s birthday on August 18, and we’ll continue adding signatures and spreading the message until MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gives us a hearing," says Greg Edwards, group creative director, MARC USA and one of the Retire 21 campaign leaders.
The petition currently has 2,872 signatures.