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.