Ezra Edelman had everyone at the edge of their couches as they watched “O.J.: Made in America,” and now he’s trying to recreate the magic.
This time around, Edelman is going to highlight another famous athelete—Roberto Clemente, an iconic Puerto Rican baseball player who rose to fame in the 1960s. The studio, Legendary, already has the rights to David Maraniss’ book, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, and struck an agreement with Clemente’s family for his life rights. The Hall of Famer’s baseball legacy and heroism will be tackled in this film. Legendary has already seen great success with baseball-themed biopics; it created box office hit of a biopic, 42, which detailed the life of Jackie Robinson.
Clemente was born in Puerto Rico, where he started playing baseball at a young age and joined an amateur league at 16. His professional career began two years later with Cangrejeros de Santurce. He later moved to Montreal to join the Royals alongside famed pitcher Tommy Lasorda. And after a brief stint in the Marines, his career began to really take off with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Over the course of his career, he helped the Pirates win the World Series twice and was an all-star 15 times.
Clemente spent much of the off-season doing charity work, which would eventually lead to his untimely death. In 1972, the capital city of Nicaragua was struck by a massive earthquake and Clemente wanted to help. Three planes filled with aid relief were sent to help those in need, but were diverted by corrupt government officials. So he decided to accompany the fourth flight to make sure it went well. But the plane was holding too much weight, and crashed it right after takeoff on the coast of Puerto Rico. Clemente’s body was never found in the wreckage.