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Book of photos and remembrances of Roberto Clement by the Clemente family

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From the land of Roberto Clemente

  • Nov 25, 2013
In the world of sports celebrities, I think it is a safe bet that none is so universally loved and is so richly deserving of that love than Roberto Clemente.  Yes, he died young and tragically still at the peak of his skills and became an instant legend, an.honor and weight that sometimes makes realistic appraisal impossible in light of his beloved legacy.  But even 40 years after his death no secret life of shame, no tell-all biography of the "real" Roberto has come to light, even in the instant-history era of the internet.  We can only conclude then, with his family in this adulatory book of interviews and pictures, that Roberto Clemente really was and remains "The Great One", baseball's last hero as he is subtitled in David Maraniss's biography.

This is not a biography (go to Maraniss if that is what you are looking for) but a memorial by his wife Vera and their three sons, now middle-aged men who have found their own way in life after losing the father their only knew through the eyes of little children.  They are honest in expressing the pain of losing a father and husband and feeling the guilt and pressure of being the living heirs and the left behind to deal with those who wanted something from Roberto, even if just the remembrance of fandom in Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico.

The book also includes dozens of photographs, most of them obviously unstaged candids that reveal Roberto, Vera and the boys on and off the field.  For a fan the photos are fascinating as they show the broad shoulders and narrow waist of a natural athlete, and a strikingly handsome man utterly composed and alert in every picture.  He is always observant, never surprised, in any of these pictures.

Surprise would come only in tragedy, at the moment that sealed his fate and legend forever, and left his family to carry the weight of fate and the light of legacy onward.  They have carried it well.   As the family says of people from Puerto Rico, "When they say they are from Puerto Rico, they say they are from the land of Roberto Clemente.". That is a true legacy.

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November 26, 2013
Good story! There is a Roberto Clemente State Park in NYC.
About the reviewer
Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #36
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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