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

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  3,956 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Knowledgeable baseball fans know at least three things about Roberto Clemente. 1. He ended his major league playing career with exactly 3,000 hits. 2. He was the first Latino player to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. 3. He died in a 1972 plane crash en route to delivering aid to Nicaraguan earthquake victims. David Marannis's Clemente presents the first truly full ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 25th 2006)
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Barnabas Piper
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story of a remarkable man

I knew little of Clemente the man before reading this book and only a bit more about him as a ball player - amazing throwing arm, great bad ball hitter, etc. But this book opened my eye to his depth and quality as a man and the lengths he went to to care for his home nation. Not only that, Maraniss wrote it brilliantly. It's one of the best biographies I've read.
Clark Hallman
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, baseball
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
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, biography
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
Nov 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, sports
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
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Liz De Coster
Maraniss is a sensitive writer, capable of creating a nuanced portrait of an icon. The book is a slightly uneasy blend of history and journalism, and each part brought strengths and also challenges to the overall work.
He uses the Pittsburgh Courier to discuss the importance of black newspapers in covering black sports and athletes, contrasting the coverage of Clemente and other black and/or Latin players in that and other Pittsburgh papers serving the white communities; however, there are years
Scott Holstad
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
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
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Robert Vincent
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This account of the life and accomplishments of the beloved hall of fame baseball hero brought me back to my youth as a fan of the game. Clemente, himself was one of my favorite stars of the game and the author of this book gave me so much to enhance my appreciation of the player, and so much more of the character of the man. Clemente indeed had his rough points and flaws which were reported in the pages of the book. However, the true heart of Roberto Clemente was shown to overshadow those idios ...more
Bryton Jackson
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this was a great book the story of roberto clemente is one of the best about a baseball players, he was a great baseball player and an even greater man outside of baseball towards people and his community, it goes to show by the way he passed away in that plane crash, he was going to the islands to help people and on his way back from helping them to get more supplies to help them more he unfortunately passed away on the crash along with the other people on the plane, his legacy of greatness on ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I read David Maraniss' Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero, which I liked quite a bit. Clemente was larger than life even while alive.

Clemente was peevish and tended toward whiny. But that wasn't without reason because he had suffered segregation and discrimination. He didn't get endorsements the way white players did. He didn't get the same accolades (though in part that's because the Pirates were not a big market team). Even worse, and Maraniss comes back to it numerous tim
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A reminder that good writing in any genre is worth reading and that I should add more sports books to my queue. To me, what makes good sports writing is that an author can also capture the context of the times and this author does a good job at this.
In particular, he was able to capture the rampant racism that faced Clemente and other Latin and black players during spring training and the less overt (but still there) racism that carried on into the north in the 1960s. In today's terms, it's sho
Ted Daniels
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-non-fiction
This book is more than a biography of a sports hero. Mr. Maraniss explores racism in baseball and in the deep South in the 1950's and 60's. He tracks the entrance of players from Puerto Rico and Central America into major league baseball. For Pirates fans, he provides a game by game recap of the Bucs inspiring win over the heavily favored Yankees in the 1960 World Series (Mazeroski's walk-off homer in Game 7), and also the 1971 victory over the Orioles. There are lots of behind the scenes observ ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read books about sports but I picked this up because I like the writing of David Maraniss AND found my grandfather, a long-time Pittsburgh sports editor, had been quoted on several pages. (Although I cringed at some of grandpa's vaguely racist descriptions!)

Anyway, I enjoyed this book and found it to be thorough and well-written.
Michael Matson
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight on a man who lived a somewhat mysterious life. The beginning was a little slow for me, but it was still one of the better biographies I have read.
Christopher Ramsay
Interesting story about the life of Roberto Clements. While I too young to fully appreciate this great baseball player, I now have a better grasp of what a great human he was.
Jon Finkel
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So. Freaking Good. Only gave it 4 stars because as comprehensive as it is, it does drag on in the middle for a while.
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Michael Kjeldsen
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-1
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
Asher T
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: form-2
David Maraniss wrote a biography about Roberto Clemente’s life. In this biography the author discuses all the major events that led up to his death in 1972. The author’s central idea is to inform and entertain the reader about Roberto Clemente’s life. Roberto Clemente died on a plane while delivering goods to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. The author hopes that the reader will appreciate Roberto Clemente and be great citizens like he was. All the actions that we make will affect our s ...more
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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 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
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UCSD Library Dive...: Next Book Club - April (date TBD) 1 14 Jan 23, 2013 04:38PM  
  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
  • The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
  • Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams
  • I Was Right On Time
  • Cobb: A Biography
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • October 1964
  • Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
  • Jackie Robinson: A Biography
  • The Long Ball: The Summer of '75 -- Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played
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
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