Roberto Clemente: The Great One


One of the nicer outgrowths of the ascendancy of slugger Sammy Sosa has been the renewed spotlight on the life and career of Roberto Clemente, the player he idolized and modeled himself after. One of the great stars of the midcentury, Clemente was the first Latin to be enshrined in Cooperstown after playing 18 Major League seasons, posting a .317 career batting average, and leading Pittsburgh to two World Series. He prowled right field with amazing grace, possessing what many consider the greatest arm in the game's history. Yet his grandeur resides as much in what he accomplished by example off the field: "Any time you have an opportunity to accomplish something for somebody who comes behind you and you don't do it, you are wasting your time on earth," notes Clemente in his biography. He didn't waste his abbreviated allotment. A true humanitarian--baseball gives an annual public service award in his name--he worked tirelessly to help those in need; indeed, he died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve, 1972, on the way to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Born in poverty in Puerto Rico, Clemente rose on the strength of his magnificent talents, but never forgot his roots. His was a complex, often thrilling life; Markusen, a senior researcher in the library at the Hall of Fame, has done it justice in this comprehensive and thoughtful examination of a remarkable human being who lived on and off the field with equal passion.
Jeff Silverman - amazon.com

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