In1936, Joe DiMaggio was an untried baseball player. The New York Yankees wanted to sign him, but how could they be sure he’d live up to his hype? Enter Satchel Paige, a world-class pitcher who was unable to play in the big leagues because he was black. A game was arranged between Paige and his team of African Americans and an off-season team of Major Leaguers to see if DiMaggio could hold his own against Paige. This picture book’s account of this little-known incident gets off to a good start but becomes long and windy. In addition, Cooper’s illustrations are watery and thin, though they do capture the game-time rivalry, especially in the expressions on the vet’s and the rookie’s faces. Still, this centers on a fascinating event, one that points up the racial injustice at the time; at the same time, it makes readers care about both players, and may leave kids wanting to learn more about Paige, DiMaggio, the Negro Leagues, and the integration of baseball. Grades 2-4. --Cooper, Ilene
About the Author
Robert Skead is the author of the children s books Hitting Glory: A Baseball Bat Adventure; Safe at Home: A Baseball Card Mystery, Elves Can t Dunk, Elves Can t Tackle and Elves Can t Kick. He is also the director, internal communications, for Barnes & Noble, Inc. When he is not at work or crafting stories, Robert can often be found at schools speaking with children and adults about creative writing. He lives with his wife and children in Wyckoff, New Jersey.
Floyd Cooper is the award-winning author of The Blacker the Berry, Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea, and I Have Heard Of A Land. He has illustrated numerous books, including Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Ramsey for Carolrhoda Picture Books. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.