If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige by Donald Spivey
If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige
by Donald Spivey
University of Missouri Press, 2013
One of the most entertaining men to ever play pro baseball was Satchel Paige, but few Americans were fortunate enough to see him because of his skin color. Paige played the majority of his career in the Negro Leagues and independent or semiprofessional leagues, being barred from playing in the majors until the late 1940s. Many of Paige’s exploits and sayings are well known, but one can only imagine how much more ingrained they would be in today’s culture if the color line had been erased sooner and he had been allowed to strut his stuff on the biggest baseball stage earlier.
Author Donald Spivey presents an in-depth biography of the pitcher in If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Originally published in 2012 in hardback, it is now available as a paperback from University of Missouri Press. Spivey covers the entirety of Paige’s life, from his upbringing in Alabama to his time in Alabama Reform School for Juvenile Negro Law-Breakers in Mout Meigs, to his antics on the baseball field, and on to his introduction to the larger world as a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1948.
Too much of baseball history is forgotten by the youth of today, and the mistakes of the past are sure to be repeated in some fashion if we do not remind ourselves of our shortcomings. Books such as If You Were Only White serve to educate us of both. This is a must-have for any baseball fan.