Today is the holiest of days on the baseball fan's calendar, a day that every year I openly curse myself for not taking off and heading to the ballpark for -- it's opening day in MLB. As millions of baseball fans around the world celebrate, Barnes and Noble has announced a promotion to kick off the season, a "buy one get the second half off" sale on over 200 baseball related books. Going through the list, dozens immediately catch the eye (and I am about to drop far more money on them than I can afford to) but two titles that really stood out to me are books from comic creator Wilfred Santiago and DC Comics VP Art Direction & Design Mark Chiarello.

First up is Heroes of the Negro Leagues. Written by Jack Morelli and featuring beautiful watercolor images by Chiarello, the book is a collection of profiles the artist previously created for a set of Negro League playing cards in 1990. Featuring players like Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige and Hank Aaron, the collection also highlights dozens of Negro League greats who, before the publication of this set, had previously never appeared on a baseball card, thus adding further dignity to one of the most important eras in American history.

Next is 21: The Story Of Roberto Clemente. Written and illustrated by Santiago and published by Fantagraphics, the book chronicles the life of Clemente, a legend both here and in his native Puerto Rico. One of the greatest athletes that ever lived, Clemente's lasting legacy is perhaps his dedication to his charitable efforts. Clemente was killed in an aviation accident on New Year's Eve, 1972, while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, becoming the first Latin American player ever selected.

ComicsAlliance's own David Brothers reviewed Santiago's graphic biography of the Hall of Famer when it was first released two years ago.

These books are essential for any baseball fan but are also wonderful additions to the shelf of anyone fond of great comics, American history, and beautiful artwork. The Barnes and Noble online sale runs now through April 13.

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