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.
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of many award-winning and critically acclaimed nonfiction books for young readers, including Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams; My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey; and Before She Was Harriet. She is also the author of the novel Finding Langston, which received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award and five starred reviews. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Learn more at LesaClineRansome.com
James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Before She Was Harriet received the 2018 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. His other award-winning titles include the Coretta Scott King winner The Creation; Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop; Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; and Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award. He frequently collaborates with his wife, author Lesa Cline-Ransome. One of their recent titles is Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams, which received four starred reviews and was an ALA Notable Children’s Book. James is a professor and coordinator of the MFA Illustration Graduate Program at Syracuse University. He lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley region with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.