21: The Story of Roberto Clemente
, Apr 12, 2011
- 148 pages
The biographical 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a human drama ofcourage, faith and dignity, inspired by the life of baseball star RobertoClemente.
No other baseball player dominated the 1960s like Roberto Clemente andno other Latin American player achieved his numbers. Born in 1924 in PuertoRico, Clemente excelled in track and field and loved baseball. By the age of 17he was playing in the PR Winter league. Spotted by the big-league scouts because of his hitting, fielding, and throwingabilities, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954. A fierce competitor, within two seasons he was hitting above .300consistently. He played like a man possessed, fielding superbly, unleashing his rifle arm, and hitting in clutch situations.Despite his aesthetic brilliance, he faced prejudice throughout his career and was given his due only after his unexpectedand tragic death in a 1972 plane crash.
Although baseball was his obsession, Clemente never lost sight of his dreams and his greater responsibilities outsidethe game. This sense of urgency is what came to define him beyond that of a grand athlete. His eventual success andaccompanying celebrity gave him the opportunity to engage his conscience in public life. He died when his plane wentdown in the Caribbean Sea on a relief mission to earthquake-torn Nicaragua that he personally directed.
21 chronicles Clemente's life from his early days growing up in rural Puerto Rico, the highlights of his career (includingthe 1960s World Series where he helped the Pirates win its first victory in 33 years, and his 3000th hit in 1972during the last official at-bat of his life) as well as his private life and public mission off the field.
After his death, Major League Baseball declared September 18 to be “Roberto Clemente Day,” and in 1999, Pittsburgh'sSixth Street Bridge was renamed the Roberto Clemente Bridge in honor of the greatest Latino ballplayer in history.Wilfred Santiago captures the grit of Clemente's rise from his impoverished Puerto Rican childhood, to the majestyof his performance on the field, to his fundamental decency as a human being in a drawing style that combines realisticattention to detail and expressive cartooning.