PBS special on Roberto Clemente airs April 21

RobertoClemente University of Illinois professor and author of “Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line”, Adrian Burgos wanted me to get the word out about upcoming PBS special on Roberto Clemente. He worked as an advisor to the project. Dr Burgos writes:

“Please spread the word about the PBS special on Roberto Clemente. I served as an academic adviser on this project and we have tried to give voice to Clemente as a complete person, not just a ballplayer, and as someone who was Puerto Rican and proud of being a black boricua, committed to social justice, and the dignity of all people.”

The press release for the American Experience program, “Roberto Clemente” is below.

We are very pleased to announce the premiere of our first production,

Roberto Clemente, for PBS’s award-winning history series, American


Roberto Clemente was not the first Latino to play in the majors, but he was

the first Latino star to have a clear and lasting impact on the game of

baseball. As an outspoken and at times controversial player, he helped to

shatter stereotypes about Latinos and paved the way for the next generation

of Latin American and Caribbean ballplayers.

In an era before players had handlers and press agents, Clemente was a bona

fide humanitarian and activist. “If you have the chance to make things

better for people coming behind you, and you don’t,” he famously said, “You

are wasting your time on earth.”

Please join us for the broadcast premiere on Monday April 21st at 9:00pm ET,

after which a Spanish-language version will be available for free viewing

online at



Roberto Clemente features interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors

David Maraniss (Clemente) and George F. Will (Men at Work: The Craft of

Baseball) as well as journalist and author Juan Gonzalez (Harvest of

Empire), Vera Clemente, Baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, and former

teammates. Golden Globe Award-winning actor Jimmy Smits (The West Wing, NYPD Blue) narrates.

I encourage everyone to check it out.

4 Responses to “PBS special on Roberto Clemente airs April 21”

  1. White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen is getting all kinds of flack for saying Puerto Ricans Pudge Rodriguez & Roberto Alomar were better ballplayers than Roberto Clemente. That is not taking anything away from Clemente, who was a pioneer & a truly great ballplayer, a HOFer.

  2. Hi Tom: Thanks for posting this. The website has been updated on pbs: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/clemente/

  3. thanks, Adrian.. I updated the link.

  4. I came to know about Roberto through my wartime buddy Joe Schemitz,from Queens,a Clemente and Pirate rooter. I attended my first Dodgers-Pirates game with Joe at Ebbets Field in 1945-47. If memory serves correctly, I saw the “eufus” skyball change of pace from Rip Sewell at that game – as well as Roberto’s special fielding and rocket arm from right field to home plate.

    I later came to appreciate what a real life hero Roberto was in remembering those who were “left behind” in poverty or handicap. His Foundation’s reaching out to the young and talented who lacked a chance to “fly”, with education is a continuing inspiration.

    Thanks for your program. Will it be shown again, in English and Spanish?

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