If You Were Only White

By Donald Spivey,

Book cover of If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy Satchel Paige

Book description

"If You Were Only White" explores the legacy of one of the most exceptional athletes ever-an entertainer extraordinaire, a daring showman and crowd-pleaser, a wizard with a baseball whose artistry and antics on the mound brought fans out in the thousands to ballparks across the country. Leroy "Satchel" Paige was…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked If You Were Only White as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Spivey and I share the same goal—to reach a broad audience, both scholarly and general. His book is for readers who love baseball and love history—those with a passion for the game who are not scared off by complex arguments or endnotes. Baseball intellectuals—the huge group of readers embodied by George Will, Ken Burns, and Doris Kearns Goodwin—constitute the central audience. But baseball buffs also care about the history of the game and will want to read this book. Spivey, a history professor, writes accessibly and avoids “insider history”—even in the sections and chapters focused primarily on the sordid past…

From David's list on deep-dive baseball biographies.

Don Spivey’s book about the great Satchel Paige is a biography the way it should be written. It treats Paige not only as the legendary ballplayer he was, but also as a fascinating person: a disadvantaged youth who learned to pitch in reform school and a daring individualist in a team game who showcased his superior talents by, for example, calling in his outfielders, then striking out the side. Spivey believes Satchel’s outrageous record of constantly switching teams in search of better pay was not irresponsible – he grew up poor and decided as a man he would not live…

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