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His passion and pride make him more human; his priorities make him a saint

  • Oct 6, 2008
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Biography of Clemente that spends most of its time off the field revealing the unique and sometimes odd character of the first great Latin American player, certainly the best fielding right fielder of all time, and one of baseballs all time greats.

Most impressive of his on-field stats are his 14-game World Series hitting streak (every World Series game he played in) and his 166 career triples that leave him 27th on the all time list that is dominated by players from 100 years ago when gloves and outfield fences were non-existent.

Off the field, his quirks, his passion, and his pride make him more human and even heroic in an age of self-centered steroid freaks. His sudden death in a plane (most tragically) that should have never tried to leave the ground but was bound to Nicaragua with earthquake relief supplies he had gathered moved him toward sainthood.

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review by . April 26, 2006
I still recall where I was (family living room) and who I was with (my Dad) when we heard the news of Roberto Clemente's tragic death. As a pre-teen boy, at the time all I knew of Clemente was his batting average and his bullet arm. Then, as details trickled out concerning the events surrounding his death--his mission of mercy to people in need, I learn more and more about Clemente the man.    Maraniss does a superb job telling both a baseball story and a biography. He also deftly …
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Todd Stockslager ()
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I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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Starred Review.If ever a baseball player were deemed worthy of canonization, right fielder Roberto Clemente might be the one. Jackie Robinson may have suffered greater hardships during his career, but Clemente's nobility, charity and determination make him far more appropriate for a postage stamp than a Nike commercial. After 18 distinguished seasons, the Pirate star with the astonishing throwing arm died in a 1972 plane crash while en route to deliver relief supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. Considering the potential for hagiography,Washington Poststaffer and Clinton biographer Maraniss sticks to the facts in this respectful and dispassionate account. Clemente is a deceptively easy subject for a biographer: his acquired halo tinges past events and the accounts of his colleagues (although close friend Vic Power is frequently quoted to both admiring and frank effect). Clemente wasn't entirely virtuous—he had a temper and was sometimes given to pouting—but his altruism appears to have been a genuine product of his impoverished Puerto Rican upbringing. Maraniss deftly balances baseball and loftier concerns like racism; he presents a nuanced picture of a ballplayer more complicated than the encomiums would suggest, while still wholly deserving them. Photos.
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ISBN-10: 0743217810
ISBN-13: 978-0743217811
Author: David Maraniss
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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