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Jackie Robinson may have broken Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, but decades earlier, Negro Leaguers and white Major Leaguers shared the same fields in post-season barnstorming exhibitions around the country. Historian Gay (Tris Speaker) chronicles this oft-forgotten era, when such big names as Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean and Bob Feller joined fellow future Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Joe DiMaggio, and Stan Musial in wild games that often drew an entire community to the ballpark (violating countless Jim Crow laws in the process). Gay provides a fresh, comprehensive examination of baseball barnstorming, from the first recorded game between an all-black squad and an all-white squad, through the glory years of the Thirties and Forties, and into the post-Robinson era. With intricate summaries based on newspaper accounts and interviews, the author recreates lively game-day scenes that reveal the casual racism prevalent in American society at the time. Yet Gay also describes exhibition game scenes in which members of both races acted civilly (even friendly), transcending the prejudices of their time and paving the way for Robinson's historical debut.
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In the wake of Larry Tye’s popular Satchel (2009) and Mark Ribowsky’s earlier, more engaging Don’t Look Back (1994), Gay’s celebration of baseball legends and barnstormers Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean, and Bob Feller could generate interest among baseball-history buffs and readers of the aforementioned books. The author profiles all three players, who were among baseball’s superstars in the golden age of the 1930s and 1940s, and offers detailed coverage throughout those years of those games where their off-season careers intersected. It’s a lot to ask of readers to care about exhibition baseball games played 70 years ago, stars or not. And Gay has a way of making a good story read pedestrian. But he has also, almost despite himself, shown how transcendent (not to mention financially savvy) these three players could be, even when the game didn’t matter. --Alan MooresSee all Editorial Reviews
"Satch, Dizzy, and Rapid Robert" makes wonderful history. Despite my age, the 1930s games between MLB and NL stars had never reached my eyes and ears. Read morePublished on October 14, 2011 by Al Oickle
I love baseball history and this seems like prime territory to goldmine--the old barnstorming off-season baseball tours when blacks and whites would play against and even with each... Read morePublished on October 13, 2011 by Brian Maitland
Good Book- Well Researched- Always enjoy reading about Satchel Paige and Dizzy Dean- Both two of the great characaters of the game.Published on September 29, 2011 by Scooter Barry
I REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK BY TIMOTHY GRAY. HE GIVES US A LOT OF FACTS AND GAME BY GAME REPORT OF A SIGNIFICANT ERA IN BASEBALL AND ALSO IN THE UNITED STATES. Read morePublished on May 6, 2011 by COOL JEWEL
On page 157 the author states that the "class D Des Moines Demons" were interested in Bob Feller. The Des Moines Demons were in the class "A" Western League in the 1930's. Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by tachyon
The sub-title is somewhat misleading as I did not find the book to be very wild. Nevertheless I believe most readers would consider this book a good introduction into the lives of... Read morePublished on September 29, 2010 by Indian Prairie Public Library
I was really disappointed with this book. I was hoping to learn more about Paige, Dean, and Feller than this book tells. Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Judith C. Kinney
Summoning the same engrossing prose with which he penned his seminal 2007 biography of Tris Speaker, Tim Gay once again fills in an otherwise headshaking gap in the literary... Read morePublished on May 29, 2010 by Bill Scheft
Tim Gay's second book is a detailed, entertaining account of an under-reported period in baseball history: the integrated barnstorming tours between major league and Negro League... Read morePublished on May 25, 2010 by Jacob Pomrenke