Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero
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Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,182 ratings  ·  137 reviews
On New Year's Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero's death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last...more
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Simon & Schuster
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Jim
This story is true to the book's subtitle "The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero." It is well researched and the portrait it paints shows he lived as a devoted family man, world class athlete and a compassionate humanitarian, but was a proud man who found it difficult to suffer criticism. Clemente was a man who maximized his potential in all of it's many facets.

He made a deep impression on his teammates. Steve Blass said, "The rest of us were just players. Clemente was a prince." (pg. 25...more
Clark Hallman
Clemente, by David Maraniss, is an excellent biography of Roberto Clemente. I have admired Roberto Clemente since I was a child and I still believe he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. I was a hugh baseball fan (Pirates fan) from about age 8 through my 20s. I was lucky enough to see Clemente play at Forbes Field a few times when my boys baseball program in Hollidaysburg, PA provided bus "field trips" to a game in Pittsburgh each summer. Later, during the first few years I was...more
Scott Holstad
I became a Pirates fan when I moved from Canada to Pittsburgh in 1971 as a small boy with my family. I don’t remember much of Roberto Clemente, but I remember how huge he was in the city. Willie Stargell was my favorite Pirate. Still, I remember when Clemente died on New Year’s Eve, 1972, and what a shock it was to the world, to the baseball community, and to Pittsburgh, and what a sense of loss it brought.

Maraniss writes a pretty good book about Clemente. It’s not perfect, but the highlights ar...more
David Bales
Poignant, sad, moving story of the greatest right fielder of his generation, Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rican national hero and star player of the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1972. Clemente struggled with being overlooked by the national media due to his small-market team and the assumption that Latin players were gold-bricks. Typically they quoted him in broken English or called him "dramatic" or "emotional". Great descriptions of the 1960 and 1971 World Series', which the Pirates won, (Cleme...more
Kay
There were parts of this book that didn't interest me and I found myself easily laying it down and reading something else. It took me over 2 weeks to finish because until the last third I didn't have that urge to know what happened next. I found the baseball part a little boring and enjoyed the personal stuff. Those who know me will be shocked to know I found anything about baseball boring. Perhaps it was because he played for the Pirates which is one of my least favorite team or perhaps it was...more
Tom Jolly
First, I should say that as someone who grew up as a fan and admirer of Roberto Clemente, perhaps my hopes for this book colored my response to it.

That said, i never felt the narrative spark I was hoping for out of this book. It's thoroughly reported and filled with interesting biographic information but Clemente's story never quite came alive for me.

It's almost as if Maranssis got so much information on Clemente's history and psyche that he let it overwhelm the drama of his life.

I don't mean...more
Sergio
I personally thought that this book was amazing. It showed the struggles of a puerto rican baseball player trying to make it to the major leagues of baseball. I recommend this book to anyone that wishes to become a MLB player. Just to have a taste of how hard it was to become one back in the day. The author paints a picture in your mind by giving so many details and it just feels as if you were siting in front of "Clemente" (the main character) during this story.
Abraham Allende
Probably the best Clemente biography I've read. I grew up idolizing Clemente, as we shared two things in common: both being from Puerto Rico and living in Pittsburgh. I sat through many a Sunday afternoon doubleheader sitting in right field in Forbes Field, eyes fixed on "The Great One," watching his every move. So this book was partially a trip down memory lane for me. I wasn't disappointed. I relived his battles with the bigoted sportswriters of the time, who would only come to appreciate Clem...more
Michael Kjeldsen
This story is a non fiction book about Roberto Clemente who was a baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente changed the face of baseball because he was Puerto rican and there were not many of Puerto Ricans in baseball at the time. He proves to everyone that he deserved to be in the major leagues. He was also a very charitable person donating his time and money to foundations.

The story was told through the passion of Roberto Clemente and how he overcomes the racism of the baseball leag...more
Richard
Roberto Clemente played professional baseball as well or better than many of his contemporaries who are today considered to be legends of the game. Many of those other legends were better known by the public at- large back then, partly because Clemente played for an underachieving team from the other, blue collar, Pennsylvania city with a pro ball club. For this reason, he never enjoyed the personal stardom or higher pay players were making in other markets. Nevertheless, as David Maraniss write...more
Gene
Maraniss did a great job of bringing my earliest baseball memories back to life for me. It felt great just reading the names that I had read hundreds of times in my youth when going through our baseball cards. The book really shines when it describes the World Series games that Clemente was a part of. I was reminded that baseball really is a great game and filled with suspense and tension, even though I have come to find cricket a better game. I see I was not mistaken to be so in love with baseb...more
Cheryl Gatling
I wanted to read about Roberto Clemente after he was mentioned in a Freakonomics episode about how we speak of the dead. Clemente was used an example of a man who may have been complicated in life, but became sanctified in memory because of his death in the service of humanity. Freakonomics suggested that perhaps Clemente was not really such a great baseball player, or perhaps great at times, but not putting in 100% all the time. The Clemente of Maraniss's book was a great ball player all the ti...more
Aaron Million
This was an uneven flowing book. Maraniss skips certain time periods without any explanation. Example: the 1967 season is not even mentioned. Yet, Clemente had won the 1966 NL MVP. I would like to know why 1967 did not even get a nod from Maraniss. The time from when Clemente was a young boy up to when he went to Montreal to play minor league baseball for the Dodgers is not really discussed. What went on then?

Maraniss does not delve into Clemente's relationships with most of the people in his l...more
Brent Soderstrum
I really started to follow and love baseball in the 1970's so I really didn't get to know who Roberto Clemente was and what kind of man he was. I knew he was a great ball player who had died in a plane crash taking relief to earthquake victims in Nicaragua but that was about it.

This book gives you a glimpse into the life of Clemente who was a very proud Puerto Rican who felt slighted by the press because of his nationality. Clemente was a very emotional man who didn't hold back his views. He was...more
Darryl
Roberto Clemente (1934-1972), the first Latino superstar of professional baseball played in the United States, was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame soon after his tragic death in a dangerous and overloaded airplane on the last day of the year, en route to bringing earthquake relief supplies from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua. Clemente died as he lived, a man who passionately loved his countrymen and fellow Latinos regardless of their skin color, particularly those who didn't have the...more
John Martinez
The biography Clemente by David Maraniss is the perfect example of an over factual biography. This book covers the entire life and tragic death of the baseball star in great detail, but maybe even a little too much detail. Unless you're a huge Clemente fan (although what baseball fan isn't in some way), you are going to find it hard to push yourself through this entire book. The only reason I may have been able to finish is because of my interest in the subject.
The book spends way too much time...more
Roy
Feb 26, 2008 Roy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans / Peurto Ricans
I read this during spring training, needed a good baseball fix. I didn't know much about Clemente before this book, and I think it is better for people who love the Puerto Rican great. He comes off as an interesting, caring, enigmatic, passionate man. As a baseball fan, it did not tell me too much more about the games or the players that I didn't already now, except for the silly segregation rules that they all put up with in the 50s.

I tend to read non-fiction because I want to learn about what...more
Nick Mann
You’re reading a story and you already know the ending. This is what I kept thinking about David Maraniss’ outstanding biography of the Pittsburg Pirate who had 3,000 hits, won 2 World Series, collected 6 or 7 silver sluggers for the highest batting average, was unmatched then and now for outfield assists, and had a hitting steak in 14 straight world series games. I kept wanting to luxuriate in the rich descriptions of the series wins in 1960 and 1971. The little baseball nuggets – like the fact...more
Taylor
Its refreshing to read a biography that doesn't simply canonize a legend that passed too soon. The author does a good job painting a picture of who Roberto Clemente was -faults and all. From his early days in Carolina, Puerto Rico up through his 3,000th hit in Pittsburgh during his last game, Clemente lived and played with a chip on his shoulder. His love-hate relationship with the media is not unlike that of Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio, however, it is rarely broached these days given the saint...more
Theo Logos
Roberto Clemente was a legendary ballplayer - a .317 career batting average, 3000 hits, four N.L. batting titles, twelve gold gloves, 1966 National League MVP, 1971 World Series MVP, and the first Latino elected to the Hall of Fame. Impressive as these statistics and facts may be, they cannot capture Roberto's greatness. To try to capture Clemente this way, David Maraniss writes, "is like chemists trying to explain Van Gogh by analyzing the ingredients of his paint. Clemente was art, not science...more
Len
I try to begin each baseball season with a baseball book and this year it was an easy choice -- David Maraniss' bio of Roberto Clemente was at the top of my list. Clemente died in 1972 just as I was beginning to fall in love with baseball, so I didn't get a chance to see him play nor did I really know much about him other than the fact that he died tragically in a plane crash. This book was an eye-opener on many fronts.

To begin, there is no question Clemente was a true hero in every sense of the...more
Rossrn Nunamaker
I finished Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss. What a wonderful book.

I was interested in this as a Pirates fan and from my little knowledge of Clemente as a player and humanitarian who lost his life tragically.

What I learned was much on many levels. In one regard the book provided a social commentary on America from the 1950s through the early 1970s, but it did so through the perspective of a man who was black, but also Puerto Rican. The distinction being C...more
JoeM
Mar 29, 2008 JoeM rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who appreciates baseball
Shelves: read-in-08
I read this book because I was looking for a hero. I first encountered Roberto Clemente when I was a boy. He died when I was 2 - but I first saw him when I went to the Hall of Fame. There was a mannequin of him in his Pirates uniform. I always wondered who he was....now I know.

The writing could have been tighter. I felt like I read the same passages over and over throughout the book. But maybe that was the point - to reinforce the feelings Clemente and others felt at the time. Having not lived w...more
Baiocco
Oct 21, 2007 Baiocco rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who believe some athletes are larger than their sport
Shelves: biography
I read this book about a month ago during an afternoon in my friend's backyard on a trip to San Diego while I was looking for a hero to believe in. Roberto Clemente would do.

First off, biographies, in my opinion, should be easy, quick reads and provide the reader with more or less a detailed chronology of the life (or period of life) with maybe some interviews, quotes, or stories from the subject and/or people who interacted with the subject at that time. I don't like when biographers attempt to...more
Max Clements
Overall, the book was pretty good. I thought it was very detailed, almost a little too much detail. I think that it would be a great movie, but that would also cut out all the little details. If you are looking to know every little thing about Roberto Clemente, this is the book for you. it is not the best book I have every read, but the information that you take away from it is unbelievable. I would recommend it to sports fanatics only.
Stevecrandell
Baseball's last hero - that's a far-reaching claim, and Roberto Clemente deserves the title.

Clemente is my favorite sports hero. A hero in any field has to have the combined talent, opportunity, and determination to make a lasting difference. For pro athletes, the talent is a given, and this book does very well to devote much more attention to Clemente's contribution to Latin American pride and achievement. Maraniss also shares stories to help establish Clemente's weaknesses. He made a lot of p...more
Bookmarks Magazine

It's hard not to feel that Clemente, for all its virtues, is a bit of a letdown. With a Pulitzer Prize and notable biographies of Bill Clinton (First in His Class) and Vince Lombardi (When Pride Still Mattered) under his belt, David Maraniss sets high expectations. He mostly satisfies by revealing details about Clemente's tragic death and the compassionate instincts and dogged stubbornness that enabled it and by rightfully placing him alongside his generation's best players. But some critics not

...more
Seth Madej
This biography feels strangely distant, and I finished it still wishing that I understood Roberto Clemente better. Maraniss seems so intent on explaining what some saw as the flaws in Clemente's personality -- anger, ego, naivety -- that he never fully clarifies what -- other than being a great ball player and a proud Puerto Rican -- made Roberto a hero. But his final argument is worth quoting:

The mythic aspects of baseball usually draw on clichés of the innocent past, the nostalgia for how thin
...more
Robert
Very good baseball book. It takes you through Pittsburgh's championship runs in 1960 and 1971. It also just shows the different type of racism that Clememente had to face. I never knew too much about him but now realize that he was much more then a baseball Hall of Famer, but also a legend in Puerto Rico. I also didn't realize how outspoken he would be to the media if he disagreed with a story, but along with that how supportive or apologetic he would be to that same media if he agreed with a st...more
Pamela
May 07, 2008 Pamela rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sports fans
Clemente is a hero to a lot of young athletes, especially Latino ones, and I am really glad that finally someone wrote a book about him. With the Michael Vicks and Roger Clemens of today's sports world, it is hard to remember that there were and are some athletes who possess a genuine sense of humanity and honest athleticism.

The book is pretty well paced but at times redundant. Maraniss dwells on Clemente's complaining about his ailments at nauseum. Also, he could have put the context of the ti...more
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David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and the author of four critically acclaimed and bestselling books, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, They Marched Into Sunlight War and Peace, Vietnam and America October 1967, and Clemente The Passion and Grace of Baseballs Last Hero. He is also the author of The Clinto...more
More about David Maraniss...
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace Vietnam and America October 1967 First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World Barack Obama: The Story

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