"Dont look back, something might be gaining on you  Im no dummy, Ive heard of Satchel Paige, even though I was never a big baseball fan. About a year ago I caught his story on television one late night, which was adapted from this book, Don't Look Back: The Inspiring Story of Satchel Paige. Oddly enough, I saw the book the next day at Barnes & Noble when I was trying to find a baseball book as a Christmas gift. [So far Im the only one that has read the book but mainly because I havent given it up since I bought it for Surg for Christmas.]
Satchel Paige was definitely a man before his time. He had dreams and aspirations that during his era could hardly be expected to be realized. Black baseball players, at least in the pro leagues, were unheard of. They had their own league and werent expected to step over the line into the white league. Where they were making $.50 [that's CENTS] a game for instance, someone like Babe Ruth was pulling in $100 a game [note: these figures are not accurate, but simply mine to be used for comparison].
To say that Paige was the worlds greatest baseball player would probably be overstated, but not if you listened to him. Throughout his book he speaks very highly of himself, often glossing over his inadequacies and fluffing up his accomplishments. And why not? A remarkable man, a hero to many, and the first black pitcher to cross into the American League at the age of 42! Think of it, 42 years old, most players are already retired by that time, but Paige says Maybe Ill pitch forever .
Additionally, he was quite the humorist. Not at least shy in front of the camera or newsmen, Paige threw his quips back at the press as fast as his fast ball. Through his constant egging, the great Dizzy Dean finally took his challenge and sponsored a black league against white league game, unfortunately it was an exhibition game and pay was little. By the way, the blacks creamed the whites and Dean returned to NY with his tail between his legs.
Outspoken as well in regard to Negro rights in professional sports during this era, the was blackballed from the Negro league because of his stance. Loving the sport so deeply, he often went to foreign countries during the off season, just to have the opportunity to play. Of course, they paid better than the Negro League in America did.
Even though he was a family man, he often left his wife and children for extended periods of time, never sending money home for their support, sometimes returning to find them gone because they had been evicted.
Paiges real age was never known. Assuming to be around 22-23 years old when he pitched his first game in 1927, they figure he was around 42 when he pitched for the Cleveland Indians in 1948. As Paige said, Im as old or as young as you want me to be .
Even though I sometimes found the book to be self effacing, I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it. With his wit and wisdom, Paige gives you an insiders look at the line that was never supposed to be crossed during this era. Paige stood with a foot planted firmly on both sides of this line and demanded to be acknowledged as an equal.
Many white players during this time considered him the best baseball player alive. When he pitched a game the stands were filled to watch his performance. Paige retired from professional ball in 1953 but returned to pitch 3 innings in 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1971.
He pitched 179 innings without a single error in the major leagues. All of his major league games were after he reached the age of 40.
His thinking was simple - "Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate dont move."  and on women, who he dearly loved - "Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money." 
But I think this sums it up the best - "I never had a job. I always played baseball."  To Satchel Paige baseball wasn't a job, it was life.
The book has 295 pages with 8 pages black & white photos, an introduction by John Holway and afterword by David Lipman. ISBN #0-8032-8732-1, $12.95 at B&N brick & mortar store, also available on-line. Written in first person dialogue and flashbacks as is typical of an autobiographical piece. Short interviews and quotations from noted figures of the time but mostly it was just good old Satchel, spreading it thick and having a laugh.