Part Of Route 21 In Newark Renamed After MLB Legend Roberto Clemente

Route 21 in Newark is now named for the most popular and respected No. 21 in baseball history, the incomparable Roberto Clemente. As it slices through Newark, Route 21 cuts through one of the largest Puerto Rican communities outside of Puerto Rico. So it only makes sense to name the highway or at least a portion of it after the great baseball player from that island who wore the number 21 his entire 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

PIX11 News on Twitter

Newark renames part of Route 21 for Latino baseball legend Roberto Clemente https://t.co/BUUcYohmyU

Clemente is the first Latino player inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame, but his impact on the world extends to his humanitarian efforts and has made him an unforgettable icon and revered hero for the Latino Community. 

The manner of his death alone — dying at age 38 in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua — is an example of how selfless, conscious and honorable Clemente was as a human being. 

That fact that he amassed 3,000 career hits and probably was the best right fielder to ever diamond mine just adds to his legend. 

“As one would drive up and down the highway – you can see the number 21. It was almost screaming for it to be changed, Roberto Clemente, Luis Angel Maisonave of Newark’s Roberto Clemente Little League said.

RobertoClementeElem on Twitter

What a week @RCES257!!! NJPAC Hip Hop and Tap Dance 3rd and 4th grade performance, Roberto Clemente Route 21 Highway Memorial Ceremony, and Career Day. @NPSvoices @LianaRodz31 @AlvarezCraft @PrincipalBarbar @dryomendez

A host of Puerto Rican elected officials attended the announcement,  including Councilman Carlos Gonzalez, Essex County Freeholder Robert Mercado along with Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin, Council President Mildred Crump and Mayor Ras J. Baraka.

It is only right and fitting to have a stretch of Route 21 named after Roberto Clemente, a man whose athletic feats were only matched by his humanitarian efforts,” Baraka said. “His lifes example transcended the baseball field and his enduring spirit continues to impact and influence the lives of many in our great city.

Clemente already enjoys one honor in Newark. In 2012, an 8-foot statue of Clemente was unveiled outside of Branch Brook Park on Bloomfield Avenue and Lake Street in Newark with money raised privately by Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and Liga Roberto Clemente de Newark, a Little League in Newarks North Ward. The statue is similar to one by sculptor Susan Wagner outside PNC Park in Pittsburgh. He also has honorary statues in the Bronx and Boston. 

Boston.com on Twitter

Roberto Clemente honored with statue in South End https://t.co/XWK8vlj8Of

“He was a great humanitarian. Because he cared about helping other people, Christopher Alaniz, 10, a 4th grader at the Roberto Clemente School in Newark said.

Clementes success not only helped to open the floodgates and set the tone for the Latino explosion in baseball that we see today, but he never considered himself bigger than the game and dedicated his life to helping others rise in society. 

“He fought for the little guy, Maisonave said. The common man. And thats why he means a lot to this community.”

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.