He is that rare American icon who has never been captured in a biography worthy of him. Now, at last, here is the superbly researched, spellbindingly told story of athlete, showman, philosopher, and boundary breaker Leroy “Satchel” Paige.
Through dogged research and extensive interviews, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher. Here is the stirring account of the child born to a poor Alabama washerwoman, the boy who earned his nickname from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, and the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school before becoming the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues.
In unprecedented detail, Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him in breaking the Majors’ color barrier, emerged at the improbable age of forty-two to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. (“Age is a case of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”)
Rewriting our history of baseball’s integration with Paige in the starring role and separating truth from legend, Satchel is a story as large as this larger-than-life man.
“Having known Satchel when I was a young ballplayer, I’m reminded of the man who took over the game with both his superior pitching and his dynamic personality. This book is a must-read that captures the essence of one of the greatest legends in baseball history, Satchel Paige.”—Dusty Baker, Manager, Cincinnati Reds
"Knowing Satchel Paige is knowing nobody like him. This is a superb book about an outstanding man."—Yogi Berra
“First, make a list of, say, the five athletes of all time you'd want to invite to the house for a night of beer and nonsense. Second, if you haven't picked Leroy (Satchel) Paige, one of the others has to go. (Good-bye Wilt, Arnie, Whomever.) Third, get up the cash for this book and Satchel's there. Larry Tye delivers him in fine, robust prose, living and breathing, riding the buses and breaking off outrageous curve balls and figuring out the complexities of segregated America. Great stuff.”—Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam, The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Biography of An American Hero, and The Mysterious Montague, A True Tale of Hollywood, Gold and Armed Robbery
“Satchel is a wonderful book. Larry Tye, with his deep research and clear writing, does not just baseball fans but all of America a great service by showing us the real Leroy Paige and why he deserves his legendary status on and off the mound.—David Maraniss, author of Clemente and When Pride Still Mattered
"It takes nothing away from Jackie Robinson to note, as Larry Tye does in this important new book, that Satchel Paige—he of a fastball of historic proportions--is an overlooked pioneer in the integration of baseball, and of America itself. This engaging biography sheds light not only on Paige but on the game and the country he helped change forever."—Jon Meacham