If it is piled high enough and comes from enough sources, even anecdotal evidence can be convincing. It is for these reasons that I believe that Leroy (Satchel) Paige is the best baseball pitcher that ever lived. Major league hitters that faced him in his prime generally spoke very highly of him, he was even able to pitch at the major league level well into his forties without throwing exclusively knuckleballs. Dizzy Dean was especially effusive in his praise of Satchel. In his prime, he was often pitching almost every day either when barnstorming or playing in the old Negro Leagues. Although major league baseball owes the star Negro players a great deal, some of that was paid back when Satchel was elected, along with many of the other Negro stars, as a full member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. His life story is one of struggle and great success, although I have to qualify it with the unfortunately true, "for a member of his race at the time", and ultimately spending a brief time in the major leagues. Without overstating and reaching the level of the bleeding heart, Humphrey describes the life of black people in the south in the first half of the twentieth century. It was a hard life; segregation was the law and woe to the black person that stepped outside their regimented existence. Fortunately for Satchel and baseball, as one of his fellow Negro stars put it, "The good Lord did not give Satchel a right arm, he gave him a whip." Using that whip, Satchel was able to make himself one of the greatest box office draws in baseball and rise up above what could have been a "career" in the mills of Alabama. His life is one of great perseverance and effort; few people worked harder at their profession that Satchel. In many ways Satchel also did a great deal to prepare the way for the integration of baseball, there were many that thought he should have been the first before Jackie Robinson. Even though it was written for children, I enjoyed this book about one of the greatest baseball players of all time, a man that almost certainly won more games playing against major-league level competition than anyone else and that includes Cy Young.
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About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher (CharlesAshbacher)
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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