A look at the `bad boy' of Baltimore's life

Regional Books

Book Review

February 12, 2006|By CARL SCHOETTLER | CARL SCHOETTLER,SUN REPORTER

Mencken: The American Iconoclast

Marion Elizabeth Rodgers

Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African American Baseball

Lawrence D. Hogan

National Geographic Books / 418 pages / $35

Who knew Satchel Paige, the great African-American Hall of Famer, pitched for a Baltimore team? Well, he did. Back in 1930, Paige jumped from the Birmingham Black Barons in the National Negro League to the Baltimore Black Sox in the Eastern Colored League. Three months later, he jumped back.

The Black Sox were a pretty good team that in 1928 beat an American League team led by Lefty Grove, the left-hander who won four World Series games for the Philadelphia Athletics. Ben Taylor, a first baseman who hit over .300 in 15 seasons in the Negro leagues, was player-manager that season.

Shades of Glory begins with recollections of baseball by former slaves recorded by the Federal Writers Project in the 1930s. It ends as black baseball's "retreat into the shadows" begins as Major League Baseball at last integrates African-Americans.

carl.schoettler@baltsun.com

Carl Schoettler writes each month about books of interest in Maryland.

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