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Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend Paperback – May 4, 2010
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Delving into the myths, legend and actual facts surrounding arguably the greatest professional pitcher ever, Tye paints an incredible portrait that began on July 7, 1906, when Leroy Robert Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, and will forever be a part of pop/sports culture, though he passed away on June 8, 1982, after battling emphysema for a number of years.
"I ain't ever had a job. I just always played baseball," says Paige, which adeptly summarizes an amazing career on the diamond at a time when the only ball was white, through the re-integration of Major League Baseball to 1968, when the Atlanta Braves took a major step to right a wrong that would have left the superstar who gave so much without a pension.
But before Paige became the iconic ace on the mound, he had early brushes with truancy, which did not destroy the care and concern from his mother, Lula Paige. Mentors like Edward Byrd, Alex Herman, Big Bill Gatewood brought him an understanding in the art of pitching. Paige went from being released from reform school (1923), to playing semi-pro ball in Mobile (1924) to signing his first pro contract in 1926.
And it was then that Paige's cunning strategy on the field, quick wit and unique charm disarmed racists and made him one of the greats in the various manifestations of the Negro Leagues and barnstorming tours with MLB (white) players. The tours with Dizzy Dean became huge draws and fueled the growing fascination of the right-hander who was already larger-than-life.Read more ›
I think Satchel himself would prefer "Bingo Long and the Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings" to this slightly dessicated retelling of his life.
It's difficult to imagine how many games Paige might've won had he been allowed to pitch in the Major Leagues during the peak of his physical abilities, with a good or bad team. It wouldn't have mattered. Just like Steve Carlton won 27 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1972---an otherwise moribund team---Paige may have done as well or better. The sad reality is he never had the chance.
However, this was a man who didn't mourn his unfulfilled potential in the spotlight. His charismatic personality was infectious, and radiated a charm that made him a national icon during his brief Major League career. His "rookie" season, he won 6 out of 7 starts, with a 2.48 earned run average for the World Champion Cleveland Indians. It's doubtful they would've made it to the Series without Satchell Paige.
Perhaps even more remarkable was the year Paige put together for the old St Louis Browns (a horrible team) in 1952, when he posted a 12 and 10 record with an e.r.a. slightly over three; at the tender age of 46. Just to prove how amazing this man was, he even pitched three innings of shut-out ball for the Kansas City A's, in 1965. He was only 59. I'll never forget reading that story in the newspaper as a youngster, thinking that anyone over 40 was half-dead; but 59? I became an instant fan of this gregarious celebrity.Read more ›
Who couldn't relate to a man who can from nothing, wasn't supposed to become anything and was able to build a brand name for himself that would appeal and inspire so many. That is what Satchel Paige did, and that is what his story will continue to do. I learned from this biography that success is not just what you have achieved for yourself, but what you have been able to give to others through your life.
We see a man who inspite of all of his accomplishments, was still plagued by the ghosts of his past. Who couldn't relate to that?
Kudos to Larry Tye for taking us inside the man and not just inside the sport. I think everyone who picks up this book and really digest it will be a better man or woman because of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderfully researched and well written book on baseball history as well as Satchel Paige. For baseball fans this book tells a story that is unforgettable and in truth rather sad. Read morePublished 11 days ago by thomas c. hancock
I wish I liked this book more but I didn't. There were a few chapters that were very interesting and five star in and of themselves, but there were 4 to 6 chapters that were lean... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sean Claycamp
This is a complete, richly-reported depiction of a true legend -- being black, an often under appreciated one early in his career -- and his true impact on the game. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Corey J. Lyons
Well written book, worth your time to better understand negro leagues and Satchel's impact. Only wish I could find my autograph from him.Published 3 months ago by Dan Wienstroer
Outstanding biography of a remarkable man. Highly recommended.Published 5 months ago by Norman Draper
Wow! What a well done book very well researched and documented and gives a reading experience worth your time.. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Norman R. Klinge
I thought the book was well written and well researched. The author really gave you insight and a feeling for the times that Satchel Paige not only grew up in but what he... Read morePublished 9 months ago by James W. Thanos
Loaded with baseball both from a historical and statistical point. Great read!Published 9 months ago by wayne hall