Customer Reviews: Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball
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on July 27, 2000
After reading this book, I am utterly convinced that Satchel Paige is as much of a baseball legend as a Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth. This book not only entertains but it fascinates, so much that I would'nt be suprised if someone mistook this biography for a peice of baseball folklore or a non fictitious work designed to capture the imaginations of baseball fans. This book portrays the life of Robert Leroy Satchel Paige in a most interesting way. In some cases he stands biggerthan life portrayed as a demi-god in the face of the gods of Major League Baseball and in some cases his mortality is revealed in the very midst of his immortality, and this is what makes this portrayal so unique.
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on April 21, 2009
Growing up a baby boomer, Satch meant two things. Either Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, or Leroy "Satchel" Paige. Both legends, both virtuosos, both masters of their domain.

This book covers the latter. The title was from his signature piece of wisdom "Don't look back, someone may be gaining on you".

Satchel Paige was born shortly after Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. He toiled in the Negro Leagues for over twenty years before Bill Veeck finally brought him to Cleveland for the 1948 pennant winning season. His legend was made by playing to huge crowds in Pittsburgh, Newark, and throughout the Carribean. He also "barnstormed", playing with other Negro Leaguers against the major league all-stars.

What I didn't realize was that Satchel Paige was a first rate star, of the magnatude of Babe Ruth and later, Mickey Mantle. He was legendary not only for his performances, but also for his feats. He would pitch sometimes upwards of 120 games per year. He started almost every game for his teams at times during his career. There was no "catching up to the pitcher" after a hitter saw him three or four times. He was always one step ahead of his quarry. His reportoire was endless.

Most amazingly, Paige was a "rookie" at 42 years old, and an all-star at 44. He pitched for Charlie Finley's Oakland A's at age 59, and toiled three scoreless innings against the fearsome lineup of the Boston Red Sox of Yazstremski, Conigliaro, and Petrocelli.

He moved through life in his own rhythm, with his own inscrutable wisdom, and setting his own pace. He disarmed even the most virulent racists with his easy homespun humor.

Paige was a one of a kind star of stratospheric proportions. A household name.

This book is an excellent and informant treatment of his life and times.
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VINE VOICEon March 9, 2001
Satchel Paige is an enigmatic figure in american histroy. Mention his name, people inevitably think of the negro leagues,or thta terrible bingo long movie.In fact, Paige was ,in many repects, the first modern ballplayer. He played for a percentage of the gate, would only pitch a couple of innings in these contests,had no compuction about jumping from team to team{or country to country}The minstel show,stephifetchit aura that he calculated with the all too eager white press was, of course, a huge ruse. He was a sometimes bitter man{quite understandably so}He knew, instinctively, that he was the best pitcher in the world{although,curiosly, his peers voted Smokey Joe williams better in a 1950 vote in the Pittsburgh Courrier} He despsed the Jim Crow laws, and what he had to do to get around them. HIs civil rights stands were taken in the 20's 30's and 40's, when such things often meant death. He pitched for what might have been the greatest team of all time{the Pittsburgh crawfords of the early 30's] Dimaggio called him ethe toughest pitcher he ever hit against.All of these nuggets are in this book. Mr. Ribowsky did a fine job here. Paige is a figure who should be celebrated for what he was:an american original,a species often sighted but rarely seen. A wonderful book!
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on October 29, 2015
This book was very insightful into the life of Satchel Paige and "blackball", which was Negro League baseball. Mr. Ribowsky examines Paige’s struggles, personal and professional. While we in modern times recognize Satchel Paige’s achievements, the society of the early 1900s did not accord him the recognition he deserved. I was moved by Mr. Ribowsky’s description of Paige’s uphill battles and the contrast between his success and that of the White League players. An especially poignant part of Don’t Look Back recounts how no one could properly recall the time and place of Leroy’s (Satchel’s) birth - apparently not uncommon in this time period. I was fascinated throughout this book and recommend it strongly to those who enjoy social and sports history.
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on March 4, 2013
I started out not liking this book, and ended up loving it! This book tells the story Satch "forgot" to tell in his Bio...
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