The new Satchel Paige biography sounds really, really good:
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” . . . Mr. Tye’s willingness to come to these or any other level-headed conclusions about his subject is made remarkable by the elusiveness of hard facts . . .
. . . radiates an obvious affection for Mr. Paige, but his is not a fan’s unquestioning love. He sees the aloofness beneath the crowd-pleasing charm, the caginess behind the exaggerated sang-froid and the selfishness behind the self-promotion. “Satchel” succeeds in putting these attributes into perspective. “Why did Satchel feel the need to inflate?” Mr. Tye asks about all those apocryphal Paige stories. “He did it because reshaping history was intoxicating and empowering.”
I could read tall tales about Paige all day, but it will be really really nice to read a levelheaded account of the man’s life that gives us some insight into Paige the man as opposed to heavy helpings of Paige the myth.
Only 29 shopping days until my birthday in case anyone, you know, is hurting for ideas.