it's been 41 years since roberto clemente died in an act of service on new year's eve 1972. in 1973, the pirates honored their fallen teammate first by wearing strips of black material during spring training. luke walker's 1974 topps card represents that memorial in my binder
once the season began, however, the pirates switched to a circular patch with clemente's number 21 inside. here's ramon hernandez's 1974 topps card showing the patch
another hernandez card represents that memorial in my collection - his 1974 o-pee-chee card
the clemente tribute showed up in a later set, as topps used old photos in future releases. take richie hebner's 1976 topps card, for example
or even lou brock's 1976 topps card, featuring jackie hernandez in the background with the patch visible on his left sleeve
25 years after his death, the pirates wore another patch in clemente's honor. this time, they wore it on their right sleeves, as seen on kevin young's 1998 topps card
here's a better look at the patch.
but jose guillen's 1998 donruss collections leaf card is probably the clearest example i have
i believe that the pirates wore these patches at home in lieu of the jackie robinson patch. the white sox did something familiar, but i'll cover that in a future post. the 1998 cards don't show up in my binder since they aren't the 'official' memorial patches.
to close out this post (and the year), here are a couple clemente cards released well after his death.