While this has nothing to do with baseball cards, I wanted to post a review of David Maraniss' 2006 biography of Roberto Clemente. Maraniss is a fine writer who has won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, and is currently an associate editor for the Washington Post. He was also the author of the critically acclaimed When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi.
Most baseball fans are familiar with the on-the-field acclomplishments of Clemente, as well as with his legendary arm and hitting prowess. Likewise, most have also heard of his compassion for the poor and neglected, a compassion which led to his death. What Maraniss has done in his book is paint a picture of a very complex man, one whose character often seemed contradictory. Clemete was obviously blessed with amazing talent that was shown on the baseball field, but one gets the impression that much of his success was fueled by an anger brought about because of the times he played in: black and Latin players were still often ignored, stereotyped, and misunderstood.
As much as I love baseball and learning its history, I think the importance of this book is found not in the history of the game, but elsewhere: the social commentary of the times Clemente played in, the desire of the man to use his fame and fortune for a greater good, and the corruption and negligence that led to the tragic death of Momen, Roberto Clemente. The author is to be commended for painting a picture of Clemente as he was- a man who had many admirable qualities as well as many shortcomings.