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Extended Audio Sample Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseballs Last Hero, by David Maraniss Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,395 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Maraniss Narrator: David Maraniss Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2006 ISBN: 9780743554145
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On New Year's Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero's death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero.

Maraniss offers thrilling accounts of Clemente's underdog Pirates' two World Series victories, but Clemente is for more than just another baseball book. Roberto Clemente was a work of art in a game too often defined by statistics. He was also that rare athlete who rose above sports to become a symbol of larger themes, the Jackie Robinson of the Spanish-speaking world, who paved the way for waves of Latino players who followed in later generations.

The Clemente that Maraniss evokes was a ballplayer of determination, grace, and dignity who insisted that his responsibilities extended beyond the playing field. With narrative sweep and meticulous detail, Clemente captures the myth and the real man, and retraces his final days, using newly uncovered documents to reveal the corruption and negligence that led the unwitting hero on a mission of mercy toward his untimely death. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An astonishingly good book…A triumph, a classic American biography.” 

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Forges a near-perfect synthesis of fine writing and fascinating material. May be the best sports biography ever published.” 

    Sports Illustrated

  • “Maraniss deftly balances baseball and loftier concerns like racism; he presents a nuanced picture of a ballplayer more complicated than the encomiums would suggest, while still wholly deserving them.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Maraniss delivers a mother lode of wonderful baseball lore.” 

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 2/16/2014

    " There were parts of this book that didn't interest me and I found myself easily laying it down and reading something else. It took me over 2 weeks to finish because until the last third I didn't have that urge to know what happened next. I found the baseball part a little boring and enjoyed the personal stuff. Those who know me will be shocked to know I found anything about baseball boring. Perhaps it was because he played for the Pirates which is one of my least favorite team or perhaps it was because so much of the baseball took place in the Winter league in Puerto Rica. Whatever! I think Clemente can easily be called a hero but the title suggests that he is the 'last hero' which I disagree with. There are many sports figures out there that are doing so much good for their communities. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sergio | 2/16/2014

    " I personally thought that this book was amazing. It showed the struggles of a puerto rican baseball player trying to make it to the major leagues of baseball. I recommend this book to anyone that wishes to become a MLB player. Just to have a taste of how hard it was to become one back in the day. The author paints a picture in your mind by giving so many details and it just feels as if you were siting in front of "Clemente" (the main character) during this story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brett | 2/14/2014

    " A great biography that portrays the difficulty minority players had when baseball first became integrated and also shows what a great person Clemente was. The description of the events surrounding his death is one of the most memorable things I've read this year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cher | 2/9/2014

    " THE best sports book I've ever read - and on one of the classiest guys to ever play ANY game. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Padilla | 2/6/2014

    " A great, complete retelling of Clemente's life. The only negative is how Maraniss glosses over the prejudice that Clemente faced as just a part of the time. Maraniss excuses his predecessors, the journalists of Clemente's generation, far to easily and tries to pass it off as Clemente's fiery temper and a flaw in his character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessa Dayhoff | 1/8/2014

    " Pretty well-written for a biography...I usually find them boring. The way Maraniss sets the scene, though, the reader almost feels as if he or she is in Forbes Field cheering on the faithful Bucs in the 1960 World Series. A great book about a greater player. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geoff Burghardt | 1/6/2014

    " I'm a sucker for bios. Clemente seems like a d-bag. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 1/4/2014

    " An incredible character study into one of baseball's all time greats. A tragedy and great loss in his death. There is no telling what he could have taught future generations of latino baseball players. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Straker | 1/3/2014

    " A hagiography which diminishes Clemente's greatness by overpraising him. Vastly inferior to the author's earlier work on Vince Lombardi. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nick | 12/26/2013

    " I wasn't sure I would finish this biography after the first chapter or two, it seemed fairly standard fair, but the book deepend and matured as it followed the great outfielder's life. I was profoundly moved by the last half of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 12/25/2013

    " Excellent bio of a one-of-a-kind player who lost his life way too soon. Even if you are not a baseball fan, this is enough non-baseball material to keep you interested. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jon | 11/28/2013

    " Reads too much like a history book - too slow "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 11/18/2013

    " As a Clemente fan, growing up as a boy, I had no idea what it was like for him until reading this book. Great insight on what ball players go through as an outsider. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 11/11/2013

    " Perhaps the best sports biography I have read. Hero is a word thrown around far too carelessly when it comes to sports figures, but Clemente truly earned it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bryan | 9/22/2013

    " Unos de los mejores relatos acerca de Roberto Clemente "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susie | 9/1/2013

    " Who knew he was so cranky with the press? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 6/13/2013

    " Clemente's passion for baseball and for being the best comes alive in this book. It is an inspiring story. And for a baby boomer who grew up in the Pittsburgh area while Roberto was in the outfield, the book if full of memories and familiar names. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andy | 1/29/2013

    " Excellent book. A new perspective, and I think sometimes overlooked perspecive, of race in sports and America, from a latin american viewpoint. A fantastic ballplayer and a special man, who was killed trying to help others who were suffering. fortunate f. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 10/12/2012

    " sports bios in general lost their intrigue for me when i was about...12. i haven't read another since Clemente, but this is reason enough to not give up on the genre altogether. as with many bios, it's the life outside of the life we already know that matters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 9/8/2012

    " I only gave this book 2 stars because I found the actual baseball parts of the book rather boring. I am more interested in Roberto Clemente the person, so those are the sections that I found the most appealing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 8/17/2012

    " Don't read that many bios but this one is great! What a life, what a story and it is well told. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vanessa | 8/5/2012

    " clemente is one of my heroes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 4/19/2012

    " Moving. A quick read that circles Clemente's greatness without ever quite settling on it (in large part b/c you had to see Clemente to understand just how great a ball player he was). Best is the extensive look into the circumstances surrounding his death (totally preventable). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith Powell | 3/7/2012

    " A great sports story of one my favourite baseball heros. I really enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven Campbell | 9/29/2011

    " An excellent, in-depth book about one of the greatest outfielders to play the game. He had a cannon for an arm and swung a bat as long as a bed slat. He made me want to be just like him, not just as a baseball play but as a person, too. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John | 3/9/2011

    " Roberto Clemente is in my all-time top 5 for favorite baseball players. This book was terribly boring. I cannot recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew Steinhiser | 2/4/2011

    " Amazing. By far the best book on Clemente out there! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy Graham | 11/30/2010

    " A glowing, though not haggiographic, biography of the baseball legend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keith | 10/6/2010

    " A great sports story of one my favourite baseball heros. I really enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarahb. | 10/4/2010

    " A great book about a great man! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bladimir | 9/15/2010

    " So far this is a good book talks about how Clemente saved baseball, and his history as hes on his journey to become the greatest and how he dies doing good for the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 8/14/2010

    " Great book. Thoroughly enjoyed it, as will any baseball fan "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Max | 7/7/2010

    " the man finally gets the bio he deserves "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 2/19/2010

    " Fascinating! Arguably the greatest baseball player ever. And I knew nothing about him until I read this book. A must read for all baseball fans.


    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 12/8/2009

    " Clemente was one of my favorite baseball players from childhood even though I really knew very little about him. This well researched and written bio fills in the details as to why he was a great athlete and a better human being. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Straker | 9/10/2009

    " A hagiography which diminishes Clemente's greatness by overpraising him. Vastly inferior to the author's earlier work on Vince Lombardi. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rob | 9/7/2009

    " I'm so glad I read this book. It tells the tale of one of the nicest men to ever live. In many ways Clemente's story parallels that of Jackie Robinson. The story of his death is so tragic. But the story of his life is a lesson in how to live with pride and class. "

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