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Extended Audio Sample Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, by Larry Tye Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (627 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Larry Tye Narrator: Dominic Hoffman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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He is that rare American icon who has never been captured in a biography worthy of him. Now, at last, here is the superbly researched, spellbindingly told story of athlete, showman, philosopher, and boundary breaker Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher, interviewing more than two hundred Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige’s steps across the continent. Here is the stirring account of the child born to an Alabama washerwoman with twelve young mouths to feed, the boy who earned the nickname “Satchel” from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school, inventing his trademark hesitation pitch while throwing bricks at rival gang members.

Tye shows Paige barnstorming across America and growing into the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues, a marvel who set records so eye-popping they seemed like misprints, spent as much money as he made, and left tickets for “Mrs. Paige” that were picked up by a different woman at each game. In unprecedented detail, Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him to the Majors, emerged at the age of forty-two to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. He threw his last pitch from a big-league mound at an improbable fifty-nine. (“Age is a case of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”)

More than a fascinating account of a baseball odyssey, Satchel rewrites our history of the integration of the sport, with Satchel Paige in a starring role. This is a powerful portrait of an American hero who employed a shuffling stereotype to disarm critics and racists, floated comical legends about himself–including about his own age–to deflect inquiry and remain elusive, and in the process methodically built his own myth. “Don’t look back,” he famously said. “Something might be gaining on you.” Separating the truth from the legend, Satchel is a remarkable accomplishment, as large as this larger-than-life man.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Discerning, empathetic, and hype-free…Satchel makes a cool, clear, tenacious effort to find the real Paige behind all that hyperbole.”

    New York Times

  • “A fascinating portrait of the baseball pioneer and flamethrower Satchel Paige.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “A nuanced portrait of [a] baseball legend.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “It’s about time somebody wrote a good biography of Satchel Paige, the great baseball pitcher, personality, showman, and entrepreneur [and] journalist Larry Tye has done just that. The best (and nearly the only) thorough account to date of one of baseball’s most fascinating and important figures.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Splendid…Tye traces Paige’s odyssey across the Western Hemisphere…documenting and debunking tales about him, tall, short, and surreal.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “A gem for anyone with even a passing interest in the history of baseball or American race relations.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “An authoritative treatment of a true baseball immortal.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The definitive biography of a black showman-athlete.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Larry Tye’s [Satchel] probably separates fact from fancy as well as any major bio ever could, and the former Boston Globe writer’s lengthy bibliography serves as testament to thorough sourcing, not to mention to Paige’s obvious historical importance.”


  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mike | 2/12/2014

    " A fascinating account of one of America's great baseball players. You cannot help but be stung by the viciousness of Jim Crow America and yet marvel at one man's attempt to find dignity in his own unique flawed way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by P.e.lolo | 1/30/2014

    " Good book about baseball and the bad things about baseball. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dick Hamilton | 1/6/2014

    " I liked the book very much as it gave a great perspective on Satchel the man. Unfortunately, as with all players in the Negro Leagues, there is a lack of journalistic coverage available to document how truly great these players were. Well worth reading, I would read it along with Mark Ribowsky's biography of Josh Gibson, another great player from this era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Wendyhodges | 12/31/2013

    " Listened to Audio EBook. Enjoyable and learned much about a man and legacy I knew very little about. Probably didn't retain as much by not physically reading it, but I have to make a dent in my library reading list somehow. 1 down, 167 to go. "

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