Maraniss: Roberto Clemente was no gentle saint

From David Maraniss at The Undefeated on May 31, 2016:

Roberto Clemente never got the chance to be old school. He died too young, at age 38, so long ago now that he has been gone longer than he was with us. That he is still remembered and revered more than four decades after his passing is a testament to the way he lived, with passion and pride, and the way he died, in a plane crash, while delivering humanitarian aid to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua on Dec. 31, 1972. As the patron saint of Latino baseball, the first to reach the Hall of Fame, he ranks only behind Jackie Robinson among players whose sociological significance transcended the sport itself, a status that Major League Baseball now recognizes with an annual Roberto Clemente Day, this year celebrated on May 31.

But Clemente was no gentle saint, and the mythologizing of him, while done with good intentions, smooths over the jagged reality of his life and times and softens the important issues that he so fiercely raised during the middle of the 20th century and that remain relevant today, both in baseball and American society.

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Originally published: May 31, 2016. Last Updated: May 31, 2016.