? what'd you do with outrageous talent as a black 20 year old in 1926
? how'd you respond to scouts who'd say "...boy, if only you were white..."
? what'd you say if you had to wait until you were 42 to get your chance
born in 1906, leroy robert "satchel" paige faced all these questions and more
blessed with a perfect right arm and cursed with a " jim crow " childhood
he ranked easily among the 20 best baseball players of all time
his life had every sad and varied element of 20th century african-american life
it's no surprise it is so relentlessly hard, paradoxical and counterintuitive
he seemed forever balanced between cold blooded competitor and playful clown
all the showmanship and exaggeration kept the writers and fans amused
and it kept the light focused on satchel and the world at a reliable arms length
the introverted performer treasured the mound as his personal safe stage
so many aspects of his professional behavior pre-date free agency
he never apologized for offering his fantastic talents to the highest bidder
his matter-of-fact mercenary approach would fit in perfectly with today's game
the book helped me see beyond the playful quotes and clowning to the man inside
he sadly burned for the opportunity to just show the world what he could do
he felt sorry, not for himself but for those that never got to see him play
april 15. 1947 at the brooklyn dodger club
the greatest day in the history of baseball
it's importance only grows with time
no athletic season was ever more deserving of analysis
as "luckiest man" showed jonathan eig is the man for the job
others have told this story but none have done better
the telling detail / the counterintuitive interaction
the underlying personalities of the teammates
each insightful part of the puzzle gets presented
what stays with you is just how damn hard it was to do
rickey at his best / robinson at his best / brooklyn at its' best
it was for each of them their finest hour
have you done the right thing in the right way at the right time ?
do people line up to help you ? or do they drag you down ?
did the players have any idea of the history they were making ?
the very human nature of the struggle comes through clearly
these were brave tough lonely determined people
jonathan eig has made their lives more than memorable
what is the bigoted cartoon image of a jew ?
loud, abrasive, short, fat, ugly, physically inept
greedy, dishonest, egotistical, mean-spirited
what if you are a jew and are none of those ?
would you make american jews look at themselves differently ?
would you become a yardstick of achievement/assimilation ?
he's a hard man to write about as he relentlessly avoids the spotlight
what we get is the image of his admirers in the mirror of his career
but the list of his admirers is as impressive as it is long
the modern athletic soap opera seems pale in comparison
his character was greater than his ability and his ability was immense
i only hope jane leavy decides to call rachel robinson some day about a book