I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and have been a Pirates fan all my life. The championship seasons of 1971 and 1979 seem like a hundred years ago, but I still have vivid memories of watching Roberto Clemente patrol right field. He was my favorite player and I still have a scrapbook of his highlights somewhere down in my basement.
David Maraniss did a fantastic job with this book. Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s, I read all the accounts of Clemente during some outstanding and less than outstanding seasons. I also read many accounts of the day he died while on a mercy mission to Nicaragua, New Years Eve, 1972. Maraniss left no stone unturned in this one. He covers the entire life of Clemente with great details and quotes from countless teammates. He also offers extensive details of those last few days, including a background on the pilot, flight crew, the plane’s spotty history, etc.
This is a long overdue account of the life of one of the true great men of baseball. In an era when you can’t pick up the paper without reading about the latest player arrest or steroid incident, this is a book that will help you remember why you love the game.