Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Satchel :The Life and Times of an American Legend

This Baseball Patriarch Could Really Pitch Himself

How fast could Satchel Paige throw a baseball? It’s hard to know because there were no radar guns to measure ball velocity when Leroy Paige, better known as Satchel, became a pitching star of the Negro Leagues in the 1930s. In his discerning, empathetic and hype-free new Paige biography, Larry Tye cites the eyewitness account of one of the white reporters who finally began paying attention to Paige in 1934: “All you can see is something like a thin line of pipe smoke.”
When asked if he threw that fast consistently, Paige, who would become famed for choice aphorisms, replied: “No, sir. I do it all the time.”
How many teams did he play for? In another of the authoritative assessments that enliven “Satchel” Mr. Tye weighs the amount of barnstorming done by Paige and notes that this tireless, Bunyanesque athlete found places to play no matter what the season. MORE