Jose Canseco, Hero

  1. Before I start arguing that it's muddleheaded, and misses the point, to disparage the greatness of a baseball player for his want of goodness as a man - before I rise to the defense of Jose Canseco - let me begin by offering one example of my own muddleheadedness in this regard.

    A big part of what I have always admired about Roberto Clemente as a ballplayer is what a good, strong, thoughtful man he seems to have been - his stoic dignity in the face of ignorance and bigotry, how he died in a crash while flying to help the victims of a Nicaraguan earthquake, and so forth. I choose to view Clemente's grace on the field as reflecting and being reflected by the graceful way in which he conducted his public life (when one has demonstrably nothing to do with the other), and both together as lasting proof of some private gracefulness as a man, when I have no way of ever really knowing what form the true, secret conduct of his life may have taken...

The complete text of “Jose Canseco, Hero” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.nytimes.com.

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