Saturday, February 7, 2015

SOUTHERN AUTHORS book spotlight

Book Spotlight on A Legend Among Us: The Story of William “Youngblood” McCrary

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A Legend Among Us: The Story of William A Legend Among Us: The Story of William "Youngblood" McCrary
Linda Pennington Black
Biography, Historical Non-Fiction
This book tells the compelling story of a seventeen year old young man who entered the Negro Baseball League, before graduating high school, with great aspirations of playing in the Major League. Nicknamed "Youngblood" by Satchel Paige, William McCrary is a legend in himself and one of the few remaining figures of the acclaimed Negro Baseball League.
Book Excerpt
When asked about the most memorable men of baseball from his time and from his standpoint, Bill replied, “There were so many great players I can’t name them all.”
Quoted from the book, When the Game was Black and White, Satchel Paige said, “I liked playing against Negro League teams, but I loved barnstorming. It gave us a chance to play everybody and go everywhere and let millions of people see what we could do. I just loved it. I’d have played every day of the year if I could.”
I had great respect for Satchel Paige because he took care of me when I left home. Remember, I was just a young boy, fresh out of high school, and I’d never been away from my family. Every morning, he would come get me for breakfast. He made sure I ate, and didn’t get too homesick. He was my mentor, and father away from home. We kept busy. I remember when we were barnstorming (traveling from place-to-place) with The Satchel Paige All-Stars. Satchel was flying in, and it was getting late (time wasn’t a factor for Satchel). Sometimes, he didn’t even show up for games, if he got a better offer for another. He arrived at the last minute, warmed up with three pitches, and said, “I’m ready to play.‟
I didn’t know any pitcher who could warm up with three pitches, and be ready for a game. Satchel was extraordinary, to say the least. He went out there and pitched seven innings of no hits; no runs baseball. The seventh inning, he called us all in, except the catcher and said, “Sit down.” We thought he had lost his mind; nobody on the field, but him and the catcher! He struck out the side and waved at the crowd. He knew what he was doing. This game was with the West League All-Stars, and Ernie Banks was on that team. Satchel brought people out to see us. He was a drawing card. He knew how to make money, and he made it. I’d say he was a negotiator, and he could do that because everybody wanted him. His skills were unmatched. Satchel did things no one else could do.
That’s why he was always busy. He’d leave one game, and be right on another field. That’s also why he often made it to a game right at the nick of time. Satchel had a hesitation pitch that they wouldn’t let him use in the majors. I tell you he was something else, and in 1971, he was the first Black man to be named to the hall of fame for his career in the Negro Baseball League alone.
The Buzz
Linda Black did a masterful job recounting the life of baseball great, Bill “Youngblood” McCrary. First, she chronicled some baseball history of various black players like Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and others. You’ll learn that Bill McCrary had a difficult childhood because his mom died giving birth to him and his dad couldn’t manage caring for a baby, along with Bill’s older siblings.
Even though Bill’s biological father wasn’t doing actual parenting, he always attended Bill’s ball games and other activities. In this story, you’ll be introduced to people who mentored Bill, like Reverend Hadley Edwards an “Buck” O’Neill. This book is educational, interesting and informative. Not only will you learn about the baseball prowess of Mr. McCrary, but you’ll also find out about the characteristics that make him an extraordinary person. This is another wonderful book by Linda Black. Congratulations, Linda.
Reviewed by children’s author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
How To Purchase
A Legend Among Us: The Story of William “Youngblood” McCrary can be purchased through our bookstore.
About The Author
Learn more about Linda Pennington Black through her interview and author page.
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