Ready for the big leagues? That's what the New York Yankees wanted to know about young Joe DiMaggio, so they called the best pitcher in baseball to test him...the amazing Satchel Paige!
In 1936, no major league baseball team would allow a black player on their team, no matter how skilled he was. But the Yankees knew Paige was the very best pitcher anywhere, so they figured out how he could pitch against their star rookie prospect - in a demonstration game during the off-season.
Satchel was "barnstorming" in California that winter, playing baseball in small towns against whatever teams came up, just trying to make a living. The Yankees' offer sounded good to him, so he gathered a team of other black ballplayers and headed to Oakland to face the white Dick Bartell's All-Star team and DiMaggio.
Thousands jammed the ballpark to see this one-of-a-kind contest of major leaguers against semi-pro players, names they'd followed in the sports pages and guys they'd never heard of.
Satch knew his pitching would speak for itself - wobbly ball, whipsey dipsey do, four day creeper, windmill - but he wondered if his new teammates could score enough runs to beat the all-stars. Maybe he'd have to do it all himself...
Did DiMaggio prove himself against the masterful pitcher?
How many runs did the all-stars on both teams score?
This historic baseball game comes to life in Skead's book, as Cooper's chalk illustrations make us see the events like an old-time movie. No wonder DiMaggio called Satch "the best pitcher I ever faced!"
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA – blogging young adult books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.com