The Times, Influence, Impact, Personal Strengths and Weaknesses, and Sporting Style of Roberto Clemente in Reflections on Roberto by Phil Musick

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Roberto Clemente’s biography written by Phil Music underscores his times, influence, impact, personal strengths and weaknesses and sporting style. One may employ Maslow’s pyramid of human needs to measure Clemente’s moral and social stature. As a Latin American, Clemente’s history deserves particular note, for he surmounts many obstacles, filling his countrymen and fans with pride at his achievements, Musick’s treatment of Clemente’s history stands true to the maxim, “to err is human” thus allowing the biography to truthfully reveal Clemente’s tragic flaws and failings while continuing to laud him as a realistically human star. The biography “Reflections on Roberto” spans the entire lifetime of the protagonist, star Puerto Rican baseball icon, Roberto Clemente Upon reading this biography one can trace his humble beginnings from the days as an ardent baseball amateur in the minor league to the tragic end of his life in 1972.

However, biography tends to lay much focus on his baseball career which spans 1955 to 1972, The time period impacts Roberto Clemente‘s life during that era was his heydays which it was a golden age for f baseball in the U51 and Puerto Rico where its popularity was at its peak thus Clemente was able to have a weighty influence and gain recognition for his superior ability. The time period of Clemente‘s career also impacted him negatively for quite frequently, as the biography relates, Clemente encounters racism and discrimination because of his Afro-Hispanic heritage. Blacks and foreigners were not accepted as they are today in the sports arena and the minority Blacks were not accorded the same respect as their White counterparts. The 19505 to the 19605 are commonly known for the Civil Rights Era in the United States where Blacks fought to acquire the same rights and dignity as.

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Whites, Clemente was no different and he had to contend with marginalization on and off the field, “The word ‘nigger’ wasn‘t socially acceptable in 1954; Clemente heard it a lot and would continue to” To compound matters, the press called him a “Puerto Rican hot dog and “made him fully aware that he was Latin and black and different” (48). Since American colonization in 1898, Puerto Ricans have had privilege to migrate and move within the US. with a freedom that no other nation can, Due to political sovereignty, one can discern the close socio-political relations between Puerto Rico and America by the scouts frequenting Puerto Rico in search of baseball talent. Mention of Clemente’s other star-studded contemporaries such as “Duke Snider, Carl Furillo and Jackie Robinson” and allusion to the fatal Nicaraguan 1972 earthquake also help to fit his life and career in the historical context of baseball.

Roberto Clemente is a good, exemplary man who is depicted very positively however, there is quite an objective and balanced presentation of his life and work. The circumstances surrounding his death, and its tragedy shoot his name to superhuman status for he dies in a plane crash while doing humanitarian work in Nicaragua which aimed at relieving victims of the 1972 earthquake. Although the biography is intended to pay tribute to him as an exceptional baseballer and son of Puerto Rico, his faults are not glossed One can see his humanity, his struggles, his virtues and his vices, The biography tells of his aggressive behaviour, irascible temper and his dislike of criticism. Fans were often witness to Clemente‘s angry outbursts on the field when he was misunderstood and offended, but the biographer, Musick contemplates that “in reflection, anger seemed to be the fuel that drove him headlong in pursuit of greatness”.

Here one recognizes that there is justification given for his shortcomings as his errors are tempered by a reasonable explanation, Hence, one draws the conclusion that these words of kudos come from the pen of a Clemente sports fan. Clemente’s biography captivates the reader and holds him spellbound to nail-biting matches, awe-inspiring victories and a few crushing defeats — mixing mundane events with superlative personal attributes. The biographic narrative seems like a sports commentator giving a play by play relation of his most important games such as the 1960 Baseball World Championship. The text is replete with baseball jargon to which the inexperienced sports fan would be oblivious and sometimes get lost as a result, nevertheless, for the most part, the language is kept simple so that the average reading age child and adolescent can easily comprehend.

The author makes a valiant effort to incorporate as much direct quotation as he could so that the reader would always be captured by the informal conversational tone which gives the account a life-like quality, thus averting the danger of lost interest owing to too much prose, Humans form bonds and learn about one another on a more human and intimate level through dialogue and the author harnesses this inclination to facilitate better acquaintanceship with Clemente. What commands originality and adds vividness so that the child, teen or adult can be left fascinated is the presentation of pictures of Clemente in action as he made his strides toward greatness, From early childhood in Puerto Rico, a common problem was poverty; no less, Roberto Clemente’s family has to deal with the struggles to survive to earn their daily bread “The Clementes were almost dirt poor”. Clemente was a member of the Jibaro people – a simple peasant tribe who dwelt in the mountainous parts of Puerto Rico who subsisted on farming. From the age of eight, Clemente began working on the sugar cane fields to help his family of seven siblings survive.

In 19305 when Clemente was born, the Puerto Rican economy is not developed and Still reeled under the blow of the Great Depression, therefore, financial hardship is not unique Many residents have recourse to subsistence farming and work on the still existent sugar estates to meet their needs. Historically, Puerto Rico‘s economy was based on agricultural produce and sugar and Clemente‘s father, Melchor Clemente worked on a sugar plantation, Other challenges which Clemente’s faces is the language barrieri Clemente’s maternal language was Spanish and he had no knowledge of English, but when he moved to the US and he had to struggle with being an outsider while some unfairly took advantage of this impediment to insult him in English, In the author‘s note, Phil Musick, a sportswriter, asserts that it is his intention to show Clemente “as a player and as a man” and to “celebrate the player and his game,” Musick proceeds to highlight Clemente’s initiation into professional baseball, dazzling career spotted with the conflicts and problems that littered his path, his tragic passing and generous posthumous homage.

The reader is given a mixed review of Clemente as the average man, as well as details which raise him as a baseball idolr Musick gleans Clemente‘s history from vocal photos, broadcast coverage of baseball matches, narratives and anecdotes by family, friends, teammates, and coaches as well as through interviews conducted by reporters of the mass media Clemente’s palpable influence and impact in his own community, and society, are felt by the honours that he received in life and death, and the respect with which he was held in and out the baseball diamond — by coworkers, family, friends, fellows, and fans, Roberto Clemente became the first Latin American to be conferred the Baseball Hall of Fame award 7 he won twelve Gold Glove Awards (1961 — 1972), twelve All-Star appearances, four National League Batting Championships in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1967, National League Most Valued Player (MVP) award 1966 and two World Series rings in 1960 and 1971.

Because of his spirit of philanthropy, Clemente not only dominated in the baseball world but made deep impressions on those around him and in the wider world Certain that he could rely on Clemente’s assistance to alleviate the earthquake‘s havoc, the then dictator of Nicaragua, Anastacio Somoza, telephoned Clemente requesting his presence and assistance in the tragedy — heedless that another one threatened. While on the plane accomplishing that mission of mercy, as honorary chairman of the Nicaraguan Relief Committee, Clemente perished. This act however testifies to the latitude of Clemente‘s influence and his goodwill to members of the Latin American community “The manner of his death proved his goodness, and he was nothing if not serious. His life, early and late, was governed by jibaro principles and they command a sober view of life”.

Clemente was active in providing aid following the aftermath of the Nicaraguan earthquake in 1972 and to ensure the receipt of medical care and food to the victims attempted to personally take these life-saving presents to those who needed it most. An enormous baseball field erected in his honour in Puerto Rico serves children who are interested in baseball and is a means of keeping them from troublei Based on the Maslow’s pyramid of needs, the most felt were esteem need on the third tier of the hierarchy of needs, and self-actualization at the pinnacle at the last tier. Oftentimes, Clemnete felt disrespected and cheated — initially his baseball team coaches benched him for many games because recognizing his embryonic potential, did not want him to outshine other players. Moreover, as a green amateur in the baseball major league, his singular prowess was not as yet evident.

Another reason for this discrimination was that they did not want a recruit to find him and leave the team. His self-esteem needs were unfulfilled as a new recruit fresh from Puerto Rico when he could not be understood due to the language barrier. He did not feel as if he belonged. “I was lonely.,,l couldn’t speak Englishmnot to speak the language meant you were different” 7 Clemente (Musick 48). Clemente also felt unappreciated by Puerto Rico, Sometimes his contributions were unrecognized by his own country men. “‘I need recognition,’ (Clemente) admitted. ‘I need people to respect me (82) therefore it comes as no surprise that “the lack of national recognition (was) so long an irritant to his considerable pride”. His need and quest for esteem were expressed in his striving to succeed and to do his best despite injury and criticism thereby earning respect, honour, and dignity Clemente fulfilled his physiological needs located at the base of the pyramid by maintaining a stable and successful career in baseball thus enabling the provision of food, clothing and shelter for himself and for his family.

Nurturing a close bond with his wife and family, he fulfilled his love needs. Many photos of intimate family gatherings and his parents’ support of him show that as an individual, Clemente ensured that his emotional needs were met. In sum, Clemente’s biography describes a legendary role model after whom any adolescent may find reason to pattern. The author gives a realistic painting with ample proof of Clemente‘s Limes, obstacles, needs and wide influence to inspire others to achieve high goals and to live life to its fullest. Clemente was not more human that anyone else and that stands as solid testament that if Clemente could have done it 7 breaking records, and smashing expectations for the Latin American community, so could the youth.

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The Times, Influence, Impact, Personal Strengths and Weaknesses, and Sporting Style of Roberto Clemente in Reflections on Roberto by Phil Musick. (2023, May 11). Retrieved from

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