Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Hispanic Heritage Month festivities kicked off at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday with the Los Angeles Dodgers holding Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead night and a special pregame ceremony.
The left-hander spent parts of 11 seasons with the club and is considered to be one of the most influential players in franchise history.
Despite this, Valenzuela’s No. 34 remains unretired due to the organization’s unofficial policy of only retiring uniform numbers of players who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The only exception is Jim Gilliam, whose No. 19 was retired two days after his sudden death in 1978.
Hall of Fame Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín hopes the Dodgers make another exception and eventually immortalize Valenzuela as well, via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:
Jaime Jarrín, on the Spanish-language radio/TV broadcast, just called for the Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34. He said he hopes to be alive for it.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) September 16, 2021
While the No. 34 continues to be unretired, no player or coach has worn it since Valenzuela departed the Dodgers after the 1990 season.
Although he is not part of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, Valenzuela was inducted into the Mexican baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.
He also was among the players named to the inaugural “Legends of Dodger Baseball” class, receiving the honor along with Don Newcombe and Steve Garvey in November 2018.
Valenzuela understands Dodgers not retiring number
Earlier this season, the Dodgers celebrated the 40th anniversary of Fernandomania with a pregame ceremony. He also addressed his No. 34 not being retired and is understanding of the situation.
“To me, it would be nice (if it was retired). But, right now I don’t see anyone wearing that number,” he said.
“If anybody wants to wear it, it’s fine. If somebody is asking for that number, no problem. I know it’s going to happen sooner or later, but who knows? I don’t know what the Dodgers are thinking, but I’d be happy if somebody was wearing that number.”
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