Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Satchel Paige Don’t look Back

Satchel Paige Don’t look Back

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  Terry Widener 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Harcourt, 2007   ISBN: 978-0152055851

Leroy Paige was born in Mobile Alabama. He was one of many children in a poor family and when he was just seven years old he got a job working in a train depot. One of his jobs was to carry bags and satchels for passengers and because he sometimes looked like "a walking satchel tree" he was given the nickname Satchel.

When he was still a boy he took up playing baseball and soon people began to notice that Satchel could pitch very well. Indeed, he pitched so well that at the age of seventeen he was taken on by the Mobile Tigers, a local semiprofessional black baseball team, to be one of their pitchers. Satchel very much wanted to play for the major leagues, but at that time none of the major league teams would take in African American players. Satchel played in Negro League teams all over the country and for his fans he was the best there was.

At the end of each season the all-white major league teams often played both white and black semiprofessional teams and thus many of the great white baseball players got to play with Satchel. They thought he was a truly great pitcher but unfortunately their admiration was not enough to give Satchel a chance in the major leagues. Nor could the admiration of the fans erase the bitterness that segregation and racism caused.

Finally, at the grand age of forty two, Satchel Paige got his chance to play in the major leagues. His years of waiting and hoping were over.