Baseball’s storied history is full of “heroes” who were, in retrospect, flawed and troubled men, from Mickey Mantle to Pete Rose to Roger Clemens. The roster of heroes whose off-the-field lives matched their exploits on the diamond is vanishingly small, Michael Machosky reports in this article for The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Then there’s Roberto Clemente. In the years since his plane crashed off the coast of Puerto Rico while he was delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua, he has become about as close as baseball has to a saint. (Certainly, he’s in the ballpark somewhere with Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and not many others).
The writers who dogged him early in his career — questioning his injuries, attitude and garbling his syntax — have been discredited if not forgotten. The Clemente stories that keep emerging — as told in books, documentaries, feature films, even a recent graphic novel —…
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