Roberto Clemente: Baseball Rebel

This article was written by Robert Elias - Peter Dreier

This article was published in ¡Arriba! The Heroic Life of Roberto Clemente

(Courtesy of The Clemente Museum.)

ROBERT ELIAS is a professor of law and politics at the University of San Francisco. A longtime SABR member, he’s published many baseball essays, including the Octavius Catto bio for the SABR Biography Project. His dozen published books include five on baseball: The Empire Strikes Out, The Deadly Tools of Ignorance, Baseball and the American Dream, Major League Rebels, and Baseball Rebels. He’s now writing a baseball biography for the University of Pennsylvania Press entitled Danny Gardella: Post-War America and the Neglected Working-Class Hero to Today’s Millionaire Athletes. He recently joined in the Century Committee’s work on baseball and the Supreme Court.

PETER DREIER is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College. He earned his BA in journalism from Syracuse University and his PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago, and has also worked as a newspaper reporter, community organizer, and senior policy deputy to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. He is coauthor (with Robert Elias) of two new books, Baseball Rebels: The Players, People and Social Movements That Shook Up the Game and Changed America (University of Nebraska Press) and Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles Over Workers’ Rights and American Empire (Rowman & Littlefield). His other books include The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books), Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century (University Press of Kansas), The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City (University of California Press), and We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style (The New Press). His articles have appeared in Baseball Research Journal and NINE as well as in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Nation, American Prospect, Harvard Business Review, Perspectives on Politics, the Journal of the American Planning Association, Urban Affairs Review, New Republic, and other publications. He wrote the SABR profiles of Sam Nahem and Joe Black. He coauthored a 2018 report on working conditions at Disneyland, Working for the Mouse, and a 2022 study of working conditions among America’s grocery workers during the COVID pandemic, Hungry at the Table, both of which generated significant media attention.