Some say Leroy Paige was born with his right fist curled around a baseball. By the age of ten he could outthrow anyone, small or grown. When he wasn't toting baggage at the depot (that's how he earned money and the nickname "Satchel"), he was pitching. His coach at school told him, "You concentrate on baseball, and you might make something of yourself." And that he did.
Satchel Paige developed his own pitches (he even named them!) and a unique pitching style, complete with a grin he flashed as he released the ball. Fans packed the stands to see how many batters he could strike out in one game. They loved his confidence, his fast-talking, and the way he followed his own rules. After just one year in the semi-pros Satch was playing in the Negro major leagues. He went on to become the first African American to pitch in a major league World Series, and the first black to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
By the time he died in 1982, he had enjoyed one of the longest and brightest careers in baseball history. Lesa Cline-Ransome's spirited, folksy narrative and James Ransome's boldly colored, exciting paintings capture the challenges, rewards and, most of all, the unique brand of showmanship in the life of the tall, lean legend named Satchel Paige.
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