Leroy â€œSatchelâ€ Paige was the most sensational pitcher ever to throw a baseball. During hisÂ years in the Negro Leagues he fine-tuned a pitch so scorching that catchers tried to soften theÂ sting by cushioning their gloves with beefsteaks. His career stats â€” 2,000 wins, 250 shutouts,Â three victories on the same day â€” are so eye-popping they seem like misprints. But bigotry keptÂ big league teams from signing him until he was forty-two, at which point he helped propel theÂ Cleveland Indians to the World Series. Over a career that spanned four decades, Satchel pitchedÂ more baseballs, for more fans, in more ballparks, for more teams, than any player in history.
In Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, Larry Tye untangles myth from truthÂ about this flawed yet majestic man. Tye shows us Satchel as a self-promoter who selflesslyÂ fought to guarantee his teammates richer paydays. He was a Casanova with out sized appetites â€”and a devoted father who towered over baseball with his skill as well as his shrewdness.Â This biography also rewrites our history of the integration of baseball, with Satchel Paige in aÂ starring role. While many dismissed him as a Stepin Fetchit, Satchel was something else entirely:Â a quiet subversive. He pitched so spectacularly that he drew the spotlight first to himself, then toÂ his all-black Kansas City Monarchs, and inevitably to the Monarchsâ€™ rookie second basemanÂ Jackie Robinson. In the process, Satchel, even more than Jackie, opened the door for AfricanÂ Americans to the national pastime and forever changed his sport and this nation.