Larry Tye was a prize-winning journalist at The Boston Globe and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. An avid baseball fan, Tye now runs a Boston-based training program for medical journalists. He is the author of The Father of Spin, Home Lands, and Rising from the Rails and co-author, with Kitty Dukakis, of Shock. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Tye, a Boston Globe reporter and author of The Father of Spin, offers the first biography on Satchel Paige, the premier pitcher of the Negro Leagues. Having interviewed more than 200 veteran fellow players of the Negro and Major Leagues, he is able to flesh out the Satchel Paige persona. Through Paige's hardscrabble years in Jim Crow Alabama to his time with the all-black Monarchs, one of the powerhouses in segregated "colored" ball, Tye dissects Satchel's mastery of pitching, his accuracy, power and velocity, and signature pitch, the sizzler. Satchel was among the peerless Negro Leaguers, who beat the white big leaguers more than 60% of the time; he struck out some of the biggest sluggers, like Ralph Kiner, Rogers Hornsby and even Joe DiMaggio, who got one hit off of Satchel and was signed by the Yankees immediately. He became one of four black athletes signed up in the late 1940s, with the Cleveland Indians, three years after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers (the two men were bitter rivals). This is the definitive biography of a black showman-athlete, and as Tye makes the case, one of the finest pitchers ever, who finally was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. (July) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Leroy "Satchel" Paige is a poster child for the tragedy of segregated baseball. He could have dominated major league pitching but got a chance with the Indians only at the end of his career. Paige could have been the star to break baseball's color line, but Jackie Robinson got first crack as a "safer choice." While there are stacks of biographies about Robinson, this is the first attempt at a full, major biography of Paige. Tye, a journalist, is more noted for his labor histories, such as Rising from the Rails, about black rail porters. However, he's a passionate baseball fan with a strong interest in the history of segregated America. Why has so little been written about Paige? One factor is the difficulty of getting reliable information. Paige was well known for embellishing stories. Tye masterfully weaves primary and oral sources together to create a credible biography of a talkative yet elusive subject. We can hope that his occasional sloppiness when it comes to sports facts (e.g., he refers to Joltin' Joe Dimaggio as "Jumpin'" Joe) will have been corrected for publication because this is an important book about a neglected figure in baseball history. Recommended for all readers in sports as well as 20th-century America.-Randall Schroeder, Ferris State Univ., Big Rapids, MI Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
"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