Reviews for Satchel Paige

Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 December 1999
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 2^-4. The Satchel Paige story remains one of baseball's most resonant: the king of the Negro Leagues, Satchel pitched longer, threw harder, and struck out more batters than anyone in any league, black or white. His status as a mythic hero was only enhanced by his swagger, his Ali-like banter ("I'm gonna throw a pea at your knee"), and his imposing stature on the mound ("His foot looked to be about a mile long, and when he shot it into the air, it seemed to block out the sun"). Cline-Ransome plays up the mythic elements of the Paige story in her rollicking narrative, while Ransome's paintings jump off the page with bright colors and startling contrasts. His portraits of Paige, standing tall on the mound or finishing off another strikeout, capture the man's larger-than-life presence with great immediacy, the perfect complement to his wife's text. A Coretta Scott King Award winner for The Creation (1994), Ransome is equally at home with popular culture. Satchel Paige is a wonderful folk hero, triumphant but never pious, and this delightful picture book for older readers does a fine job of keeping his story alive for a new generation of young people. ((Reviewed December 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

BookPage Reviews 2000 January
In the first half of this century, some of the best baseball players in America did not play in the Bronx, or Fenway Park, or in Tiger Stadium. They played in towns like Chattanooga and Birmingham, for teams like the Nashville Elite Giants and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Because of the politics of segregation, players in the Negro Leagues played in smaller stadiums, and until recently, received far less acclaim and notice from baseball historians.

Satchel Paige (ages 6-10) introduces young baseball fans to one of the game's greatest. Leroy Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, at the turn of the century. As the seventh of 12 children, Leroy had to earn every penny he could to help feed his family. When trains would arrive at the Mobile depot, he was the first to offer to carry the luggage of the arriving passengers for a few coins. Soon, his friends started calling him Satchel. The name stuck.

Satchel Paige traces his life from his humble beginnings to his days in the Negro Leagues. Like Jackie Robinson, Satchel's skill transcended race. Indeed, once Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Satchel Paige was among the first African Americans to be drafted by a major league team. In fact, he was the first former Negro League player to pitch in the major league World Series.

Lisa Cline-Ransome's book, handsomely illustrated by her husband James Ransome, should prove to be a fascinating introduction for children to one of the century's greatest athletes. Also, the book refuses to shy away from pointing out the injustice of segregation in America. Cline-Ransome illustrates the different careers and lifestyles of African-American and white athletes during this time without appearing heavy-handed or preachy. Satchel Paige is a fine addition to the bulk of literature written about the tradition-rich sport of baseball.

Taylor Cates is an attorney in Nashville, Tennessee. Copyright 2000 BookPage Reviews

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Fall
This picture-book biography captures the immensely talented and individualistic Leroy ""Satchel"" Paige to the life, seeming--thanks to conversational prose and spectacle-filled pictures--barely able to contain the force of his gift and personality. Cline-Ransome, for all her leisurely down-home style and sheer comfort in storytelling, nonetheless packs the text with valuable information about both Paige and the world of baseball. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2000 #2
Legendary pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige spent more than twenty years wowing them in the Negro Leagues before finally being drafted, in 1948, as the first black pitcher in major league baseball. This picture-book biography captures the immensely talented and individualistic Satchel Paige to the life, seeming-thanks to Lesa Cline-Ransome's conversational prose and James Ransome's spectacle-filled pictures-barely able to contain the force of Paige's gift and personality. Cline-Ransome, for all her leisurely down-home style and sheer comfort in storytelling, nonetheless packs the text with valuable information about both Paige and the world of baseball. She includes plenty of baseball lore (such as Paige's legendary match-up with hitter Josh Gibson in the 1942 Negro World Series) and peppers the narrative with memorable Satchel sayings (the supremely confident Satchel to his outfield: "Why don't you all have a seat. Won't be needing you on this one"). Unlike Satchel's fastball, the text wobbles a little here and there, with some awkward or unclear sentences and passages, but readers will easily shake that off in the overall enjoyment of watching Satchel Paige show his stuff. m.v.p. Copyright 2000 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 1999 November #2
Few characters in sports have so vivid or memorable a personality as Satchel Paige, even in the era of Michael Jordan; Cline-Ransome's storytelling captures that personality with the rhythms of a folktale, while her husband's oil paintings are strong and sure. Paige was a natural-born pitcher, expert from a very early age. This well-written biography begins with his childhood, where his job of carrying luggage for passengers at the Mobile, Alabama train station earned him his nickname. He learned baseball in ``reform school,'' where he was sent after getting caught stealing, and was a star in the Negro Leagues with greats such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson. He was over 40 when he finally got his chance in the majors, but was the first African-American to pitch in a World Series. The green and gold of the field, the long, tall image of Satchel in his uniform against a deep blue sky, and the bodies of baseball players coiled or unleashed make a fine counterpoint to the lyrical telling. (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

Library Talk Reviews 2000 May
The talent and resourcefulness of this legendary African-American pitcher are depicted in a candid portrait by Cline-Ransome. The author creates an honest yet compelling biography of a man who, despite a negative racial climate and his own personal problems, was able to capitalize on his talents and become an accomplished ballplayer. The author relates details in an inviting, conversational tone. Born to a large, impoverished family in the rural South, Leroy Paige learned to be successful in any endeavor. For a time, Paige was an inmate in a reform school for juvenile offenders and coached by a concerned teacher who helped him refine his skills as a baseball pitcher. Later, as a player in the Negro League, he invented and named several of his signature pitches and came to be known for his humorous rapport with spectators and players. The book contains brightly colored illustrations of this accomplished, self-confident sports figure. A brief bibliography of contemporary books follows page identifying statistics on Satchel Paige. Recommended. Cynthia Schulz, Director of Learning Resources, Northwest ESD 189, Mount Vernon, Washington © 2000 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2000 January #2
This first collaboration between a husband-and-wife team offers an informal, anecdotal profile of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, one of the all-time great baseball players of the Negro League, the first black pitcher to play in the major leagues and the first black inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The author's style is conversational and flavorful: after explaining that Paige, the seventh of 12 children, earned money for his family by toting travelers' luggage at the train depot, she writes, "When dimes weren't enough, Leroy took to stealing. And when he could no longer run fast enough, it was stealing that caught him." Sent to reform school at age 12, Paige joined its baseball team and was thrilled to encounter "real leather balls (not the ones your mama made with a rock and a rag) and real wooden bats, too." Kids will enjoy her occasional hyperbole: "[When he stood on the mound], his foot looked to be about a mile long, and when he shot [the ball] into the air, it seemed to block out the sun. Satch's arm seemed to stretch on forever, winding, bending, twisting." Ransome's (Let My People Go) tightly edited, boldly hued oil paintings capture the on-field prowess as well as the personality of the quick-witted, feisty Paige. More sculptural than kinetic, they express the qualities of a man who often seemed larger than life. This vivid book is a fitting tribute to a baseball hero. Ages 6-10. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 December #3
PW called this informal, anecdotal profile of the first black pitcher to play in the major leagues and the first black inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame "a fitting tribute to a baseball hero." Ages 6-10. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2000 March
Gr 2-4-"Some say Leroy Paige was born six feet three and a half inches tall, 180 pounds, wearing a size fourteen shoe. Not a bit of truth to it." So begins this unaffected biography of the first African-American pitcher to play major league baseball and the first black Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. Written with a storyteller's sense of rhythm and pacing, Paige's history will be best appreciated as a read-aloud. For example, describing life on the road, "From the first breath of spring till the cool rush of fall he would ride. Sometimes he joined his teammates on rickety old buses, bumping along on back roads studded with potholes so deep, players would have to hold on to their seats (and stomachs) just to keep from spilling into the aisles." Paige's frustration and anger with the limitations imposed on black players are mentioned, but emphasis is placed on his talents, popularity, and success. Ransome's rich oil illustrations establish a sense of time and place, reflecting the determination and excitement the man brought to the game. An obvious choice as a biography for younger readers and definitely of interest to baseball fans of all ages, this book is a worthy addition for any collection.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.