The Mexican Baseball League announced plans to honor Los Angeles Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela by retiring his iconic No. 34 jersey. It will take effect July 6, when all teams will host commemorative ceremonies and launch a social media campaign with the hashtag ‘#Ley34nda.’
The retired jersey marks a first for the beloved left-hander. Although the Dodgers have not issued No. 34 to a player since Valenzuela, team policy that limits retired numbers to Hall of Famers has prevented them from officially removing it from circulation.
Valenzuela was recognized by the team as one of the initial members inducted into the “Legends of Dodger Baseball.”
“The Dodgers have meant so much to me during my 11 years on the field, and now 16 in the broadcast booth, and I’m honored to be among the first Dodger Legends,” Valenzuela said at the time the inaugural class was announced. “Thank you to the Dodger organization for this great recognition, and to the fans for their years of support.”
For as much as he’s meant to the Dodgers organization, Valenzuela’s Mexican heritage has endeared him to thousands more. He joined the team last season and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mexico Series began.
In 2017, Valenzuela led a group of investors who purchased Cancun’s Quintana Roo Tigres to save the team. Valenzuela spent two seasons pitching in the Mexican League prior to signing with the Dodgers in July 1979, and after an eight-year layoff, joined the Aguilas de Mexicali for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
He has also served as a pitching coach of the Mexican National Baseball Team in the 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2017 iterations of the World Baseball Classic.
Valenzuela is in his 17th season as a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Dodgers. Last December he was inducted as part of the 12th class of the California Hall of Fame.