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Satchel Paige's America, Satchel Paige's America, 0817351892, 0-8173-5189-2, 978-0-8173-5189-2, 9780817351892, , Fire Ant Book

Satchel Paige's America
by William Price Fox

Quality Paper
2005. 152 pp.
Price:  $18.95 t

Captures the sometimes outrageous, often humorous, and always bigger-than-life spirit of the World's Greatest Pitcher, Leroy Satchel Paige

This book began when the author met "the Satch" for the first time at the Twilight Zone Lounge of the Rhythm Lanes Bowling Alley in Kansas City. What started as a simple interview for Holiday magazine quickly grew into an animated conversation that lasted nearly a week as Paige and Fox moved from bar to club to restaurant to auto repair shop and from one topic to the next. Fox describes, with amazement, the reception the legendary baseball player received at Gates' Place, a famous barbecue restaurant, and The Flamingo, a big dance club. Over the course of the week, Paige shared stories about his start in the Negro leagues, his time with the Kansas City Monarchs, and barnstorming around the country, sleeping on the ground because there were no hotels for blacks. He also tells of his breakthrough to the big leagues when he signed with the Cleveland Indians and later pitched two shutouts against the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to his baseball career, Paige tells Fox about his childhood in Mobile, Alabama, catching fish during the Jubilee, throwing rocks at white boys, hustling bags at the train station, and working in the Depression era medicine shows. In contrast to these humble beginnings, Satchel recounts his later connections with film and music celebrities like Orson Welles, Jelly Roll Morton, Billie Holliday, and Cab Calloway. He also expounds on his friendships with other sports greats, including Goose Tatum, Meadowlark Lemon, and Sugar Ray Robinson.

The ironic intersections between oppression and fame, and between poverty and wealth, that emerge from Paige's narrative memoir exemplify the affliction of talent and genius in an era of racial discrimination and segregation.

William Price Fox is Professor and Writer-In-Residence at the University of South Carolina. He is author of nine books, including Moonshine Light, Moonshine Bright; Wild Blue Yonder; and Lunatic Wind: Surviving the Storm of the Century.

"This is the stuff of dreams--overhearing a lively conversation between two voluble Southern originals. . . . It plays like a rare homemade movie. . . . I've read much about ol' Satch over the years, even hung out with him once myself, but I've never seen or heard anything about him as revealing as this book."--Paul Hemphill, author of Lost in the Lights: Sports, Dreams, and Life

"Enormously entertaining. . . . Could easily be titled 'Satchel and Me.' . . . Reading this book is like finding a treasure trove of letters and snapshots illuminating the life of perhaps the most colorful player in baseball history. It's an essential edition to any baseball library."--Allen Barra, author of The Last Coach: The Life of Paul "Bear" Bryant

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