WHO WAS ROBERTO? A Biography of Roberto Clemente by Phil Musick

WHO WAS ROBERTO? A Biography of Roberto Clemente

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A noteworthy book inasmuch as Musick recreates a portrait of the legendary Pirate superstar without recourse to the maudlin idol worship one might anticipate. This is a comprehensive look at the man beneath all those neck-flexing contortions who was waiting in the on-deck circle such a short time ago. Beginning as a naturally talented youth amidst poverty in his native Puerto Rico, Clemente possessed an undeniable charismatic quality rarely found in the locker rooms. Temperamental and proud, he bickered ceaselessly with the sports writers he so misunderstood, and even if put this unfortunate way, he ""honed his competitive fire on the hide of a news media baffled by his antipathy."" A health nut who was labeled a hypochondriac and malingerer when his aching back and assorted injuries reduced him to the level of his fellow players, Clemente parlayed his long-overlooked abilities with his bat and arm and joined a select plateau of outfielders that includes Mantle, Mays and Aaron. Dying as he did when his plane crashed while on a relief mission to earthquake victims in Nicaragua (""for people to whom he owed no real obligation""), his sad death is now nearly inseparable from that graceful performer it enshrouds. A commendable book at an athletic marvel with the inevitable reverence kept on the outside corner.

Pub Date: June 14th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday