Today’s Guest: Cartoonist Wilfred Santiago, creator of the graphic novel 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente.
Mr. Media is recorded live before a studio audience of hardcore baseball fans who would not be averse to reading a book with more pictures than words … in the new new media capitol of the world… St. Petersburg, Florida!
Do you remember where you were when you heard the sad news that Roberto Clemente’s had died in a tragic airplane accident?
The Pittsburgh Pirates all-star and son of Puerto Rico was lost on a humanitarian mission to bring emergency supplies to earthquake-ravaged Nicaragua in 1972.
WILFRED SANTIAGO podcast excerpt: “Everybody knows who Roberto Clemente is in Puerto Rico. And everybody knows what he stood for.”
You can LISTEN to this interview with artist WILFRED SANTIAGO, author of 21: THE STORY OF ROBERTO CLEMENTE, by clicking the audio player above! <
I was a 12-year-old boy – a New York Mets fan – and I will never forget waking up that morning and hearing the news on the radio. It was the first time I ever heard of Nicaragua, but not the first I had heard of Clemente. A career .300 hitter, he had finished the previous baseball season by notching his 3,000th hit, putting him in a very small club of players to accomplish that. It was a sure ticket to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.
It was also notable to me because I took it pretty hard. I had yet flown in an airplane. How could someone trying to help other people get in a plane to help other people and die? It wasn’t fair.
Nearly three decades later, Wilfred Santiago reminds us of the legend of this sainted athlete in the form of a graphic novel, 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. It’s a curious yet effective format for recalling the life of a good man taken from us way too soon.