Saturday, July 19, 2008

Satchel Paige, Literary Great

Negotiations are taking a break for the weekend. The pony is still on the table, but they're waffling. I might have to compromise at puppy.

I'm putting together name lists for the new books, and in the process came across a stunning fact in Bruce Lanksy's 100,000+ Baby Names. On page 99 Bruce offers The Name Exchange, lists of professional and original names of important historical, literary and entertainment figures. I always read those because it's interesting to see what the great names started out with. Under the list of Literary Figures, right between George Orwell (Eric Author Blair) and Anne Rice (Howard Allen O'Brien), was Satchel Paige.

Satchel Paige wrote books? And I never heard about this? I got all excited and went right over to B& to check for the titles.

Well, turns out that it was a typo, because while dozens of books have been written about Satchel (Leroy Robert Paige), he didn't personally write any of them. Which now I think is a crime, because he was a superb athlete, a wise human being, and said some pretty wonderful things. He was not only part of some of the most fascinating years of baseball history, he made baseball history. I think he would have made one hell of an author, too.

Which historic figure do you think should have been a writer, too? Let us know in comments.


  1. Queen Elizabeth I absolutely. What family dramas she could have written!

  2. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Eleanor of Aquitaine. Because she was tough and smart and I bet she was witty, and can you imagine her memoirs?

  3. How about Jimmy Dorsey?

    I think an insiders view to the vaudeville as well as big band eras as well as hosting one of the first TV variety shows (Jackie Gleason's "Stage Show" would be a fresh perspective as seen from someone other than one of the "Rat Pack."

    On a related note to the "writings" of Satchel Paige, if you want an insiders view, try Roy Campanella's auto-biography "It's Good to be Alive."

    Not only is it a fascinating look at baseball from the perspective of someone who started playing baseball prior to integration, as well as was one of the first people to cross the color lines (and if one of the anecdotes in the book is true, could very well have been the first) into major league baseball, but it's also an inspirational story about his post accident rehabilitation as well.


  4. It would be awesome if we could bring Mozart to the present and have him write a modern novel. He was both a genius and a cavorting little pervert.

  5. Eric Author Blair? Nominative determinism?


    Tempting to second Eleanor of Aquitaine. She went all over the place and must have seen all sorts of stuff. But I think it would be even cooler if we had Boudicca's diary!

  6. I can't think of any historic figures, but I've been mulling over the Satchel Paige quote about the more he pitched, the stronger his arm got and liking that as writing metaphor. Very inspiring. Thanks for the link!

  7. Pythagoras---I think he should have written books about his beliefs and philosophy.

  8. I second Elizabeth I and would like to add Cleopatria to the mix.


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