Thirty-five years ago, Roberto Clemente made baseball history when he became the first Latin American to enter the Hall of Fame. Roberto Clemente: The Great One evaluates one of the game’s most dynamic players and perhaps its most selfless humanitarian. From modest beginnings in Carolina, Puerto Rico, to a legendary career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, to his tragically premature death in a plane crash, Roberto Clemente remains one of baseball’s most compelling characters. Interviews with teammates Willie Stargell and Al Oliver, former major league commissioner Bowie Kuhn, and close friends of Clemente lend insight into his character and contributions. Markusen successfully analyzes the cultural misunderstandings between Clemente and his audience as well as the struggles and hardships he and other Latin American players endured during that era. Regardless, he is a key example of how athletes can be more than just a source of entertainment. Undoubtedly, Clemente was never give the national exposure he deserved until the 1971 World Series, and subsequently his death in 1972 not only cut short a tremendous career but also deprived the world of more humanitarian efforts to those in need. The Great One fully examines Clemente’s legacy, which he developed at a time of unprecedented success for Latin American players.
Bruce Markusen is the author of seven books on baseball, including the award-winning A Baseball Dynasty: Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s, the recipient of the Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research. He currently works as a museum teacher at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Farmers’ Museum, and the Fenimore Art Museum, all located in Cooperstown. In addition to the Hardball Times, he also contributes articles to Bronx Banter.