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Extended Audio Sample Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend Audiobook, by Larry Tye Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.89 out of 53.89 out of 53.89 out of 53.89 out of 53.89 out of 5 3.89 (28 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: June 2009 ISBN: 9780739384640
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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.”

    BookPage

  • 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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 12/9/2013

    " Exhaustively researched bio of a very enigmatic figure. Paige may have been the greatest pitcher in baseball history, but it's impossible to know for sure. Due to racial segregation and Paige's natural waywardness, hard facts about his pitching prowess are very hard to come by. This book gathers as much as it can, as well as the endless myths, legends and tall tales about Paige's pitching dominance and sly personality in nearly every one of the United States and several lands abroad. While it's great to read about this tall, gangly, witty, seemingly ageless man and his many maxims and Twain-esque philosophies, the author sometimes blends fact and legend in a way that undercuts the point of the book. There are times when Tye clearly notes certain tales as hearsay or the stuff of myth, but other times he seems to fall under the spell himself and his prose ventures a little too far away from sobriety to make for the stuff of a fully objective biography. Still, this seems to be THE source for Paige info. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emilio | 12/4/2013

    " so far a good read. Long book, but I like reading about baseball history "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert W. | 10/27/2013

    " This is a wonderful biography of the legendary African American pitcher, Satchel Paige. It shows how segregation impacted society in the early 20th century. The descriptions of segregation and Black baseball are powerful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Randy | 9/29/2013

    " Great story of Negro Leagues baseball and it's biggest star. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 9/13/2013

    " While I enjoyed the Satchel Paige "story", for some reason, I found this book difficult to get through. It is hard to pinpoint what the problem is. It may be that I was a bit bored by the repetitive nature of the author's review of Satchel's love life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hapzydeco | 12/16/2012

    " Satchel became a legend. Reading this account will illustrate why. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 10/2/2012

    " not just about baseball, it's about how he handled segregation, and how he handled himself as an African American baseball player. if you like baseball this guy was an amazing pitcher. now i want to go to Kansas City to the Negro Leagues hall of fame. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rogers | 9/29/2012

    " An enlightening book on one of the best pitchers ever. I learned a lot about his childhood. A lot of good secondary information on the Negro Leagues, Bob Feller, and integration into baseball. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christina Dudley | 8/23/2012

    " Enjoyed this lots. Great if you're interested in baseball lore, history of race relations in U.S., Negro Leagues, etc. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caffection Mariah Byron | 8/6/2012

    " The best book I've read on Satchell Paige. Filled with details previously unwritten, and a thoroughly balanced rendition of the life of baseball's mythic pitcher. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 6/9/2012

    " Despite the chronological jumps, a well-researched bio that spoke as much about Jim Crow and its remnants as it did Paige. I would highly recommend that those who wish to learn about Robinson, Mays and Aaron read about Paige first. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B | 5/27/2012

    " Satchel is still more myth than fully fleshed out man. Tye writes that that is his appeal. Still, would like to know. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh Kennedy | 5/18/2012

    " A decent but unspectacular read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kay | 12/7/2011

    " Not just a story about baseball. It's America's story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John Harris | 6/5/2011

    " Many rumors and tales set straight and good book for lovers of the game "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 White302 | 2/21/2011

    " already, i am learning more about the time period from this book than from any dull history text book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert Morrow | 1/24/2011

    " I think it would be very difficult to write a dull book about Satchel Paige, but even with that advantage, Larry Tye does a fine job evoking both the tragedy of baseball's exclusion of non-whites and the essential beauty of this very special character in American history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Domenique | 1/16/2011

    " For a baseball lover, this would be a great book.
    I was a little lost amongst the baseball statistics and game replays.
    Needed more details about his life and loves, earlier in the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 1/8/2011

    " The prehistory of baseball integration from the man in many ways just as responsible for it as Jackie Robinson. A great biography of a great American. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 12/23/2010

    " I think it would be very difficult to write a dull book about Satchel Paige, but even with that advantage, Larry Tye does a fine job evoking both the tragedy of baseball's exclusion of non-whites and the essential beauty of this very special character in American history. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ah | 12/11/2010

    " I always liked the story of Satchel Paige and I was very interested in reading his biography. I did not like the author's narrative or writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hapzydeco | 11/20/2010

    " Satchel became a legend. Reading this account will illustrate why. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian S. | 10/14/2010

    " I cannot imagine a more complete biography of Satchel Paige, but Larry Tye's writing style didn't reach me. Don't let that keep you from reading this book, though. The Satchel Paige story is worth reading and knowing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 8/26/2010

    " Great - got better as it went - a MUST for baseball fans "

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About the Author
Larry Tye was an award-winning journalist at The Boston Globe and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. A lifelong Superman fan, Tye now runs a Boston-based training program for medical journalists. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Satchel, as well as The Father of Spin, Home Lands, and Rising from the Rails, and co-author, with Kitty Dukakis, of Shock.
About the Narrator

Dominic Hoffman is a Los Angeles–based actor of stage, screen, and television. He has appeared in such television shows as The ShieldNYPD Blue, and The Jamie Foxx Show. He attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as well as the American Conservatory Theater.