Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2006-04-27 05:13
by Alex Belth

Speaking of Roger Angell, after going to hear David Maraniss talk about his new book on Roberto Clemente last night, I was reminded of Angell's description of Clemente in the 1971 World Serious. Maraniss spoke about Clemente's game going deeper than what the numbers can tell us, and I don't think he meant it as a cop-out. It was meant it as a way of describing somebody whose very body language was memorable--all of a piece. "Sensations" was the term Maraniss used and Clemente certainly made the country take notice with his performance--on the bases, in the field and at the plate--in that Serious (by the way, for what it is worth, Maraniss believes that Clemente would have been a fine player today, and he compared him to two other athletes of that era whose games suggested something timeless--Gayle Sayers and Earl Monroe).

Before Game 7, Clemente told Angell, "I want everybody in the world to know that this is the way I play all the time. All season, every season. I gave everything I had to this game." The final game hadn't begun yet, when Angell, summing-up the first six games, wrote:

And then too, there was the shared experience, already permanently fixed in memory, of Roberto Clemente playing a kind of baseball that none of us had ever seen before--throwing and running and hitting at something close to the level of perfection, playing to win but also playing the game as if it were a form of punishment for everyone else on the field.

Now, that's a sensation.

2006-04-27 08:29:49
1.   Sliced Bread
"...playing the game as if it were a form of punishment for everyone else on the field."

I love that description. Angell rules.

2006-04-28 04:45:31
2.   The Mick 536
Remember him sliding. Arms extended. Legs wide open. Big turns at the bases.

Went to a lecture at the Hall of Fame on the series. They showed the throw in the theatre on the big screen.

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