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Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates

by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Raul Colón

Published by An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum, 2005
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-85643-1

Ages 5-10

This picture book biography of baseball great Roberto Clemente begins with his Puerto Rican childhood. He was a boy “who had very little but a fever to play and win at baseball.” This drive took him from hitting empty soup cans with a guava tree branch up through the baseball hierarchy to the American major leagues and an invitation to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. With Roberto’s help, the Pirates rose from last place to World Series champions. Goaded by derogatory media remarks, Robert Clemente pushed himself further, until he achieved the highest batting average in the National League. When even that feat didn’t quell the racist insults and “it was starting to seem as if Roberto might never be respected,” Clemente went on to lead his team to another World Series victory in 1971. Clemente’s death in an airplane crash, while taking aid to victims of a Central American earthquake, underscores the humanitarian spirit of a man lauded as “the greatest all-around baseball player of his time, maybe of all time.” Raúl Colón’s warm-toned watercolor and colored pencil illustrations capture both the tropical setting of the Puerto Rico of Clemente’s youth, and the drama of the major ballpark’s of his adulthood. Interspersed pages of black-and-white pencil drawings add texture and visual interest to this lyrical tribute. (MVL) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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