Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, epigraph

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface: Recovery of a Lost History

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pp. xi-xiv

I fell in love with baseball when I was twelve years old. That year I bought the 1956 edition of The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball for ten cents at my school’s annual rummage sale. How I pored over that magical book at every opportunity—it had stats for...

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1. Trujillo City

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pp. 1-2

Satchel thought it was all so odd. He expected to play on the tight schedule he had grown accustomed to—on the bus, off the bus, lousy hotel, worse food, ball game, next town same thing. It had gotten to the point where he felt like a traveling...

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2. Time to Get a Job

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pp. 3-9

The hot days in the Dominican Republic, cooled by an ocean breeze, felt the same to Satchel as when he had walked along the seashore of the Gulf Coast in Mobile Alabama, as a child. He still remembered that day his mother had looked him in...

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3. Show Me the Money

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pp. 10-15

Satchel looked down at his feet. He scratched at the mound dirt with the toes of his spikes: in a flash he took stock of it all. He felt a residue of doubt mixed with a pinch of regret. Yet he refused to regret the day he had taken the bankbook with his...

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4. Chapita

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pp. 16-18

On a warm Friday evening in early spring, a group of powerful men began gathering at the opulent downtown law offices of Julio Cuello. Julio warmly welcomed each man as he arrived and promptly poured him a glass of brandy. Every man was...

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5. The Americans

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pp. 19-26

The mid- August day was hot and dusty. Inside the insignificant rural church, everyone was perspiring except the groom. The Catholic priest looked into the eyes of twenty- one- yearold Rafael Trujillo Molina as he asked, “¿Quieres recibir por...

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6. A Long, Lanky Black Boy by the Name of Satchell

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pp. 27-31

One-dollar-a-game Satchel kept his eyes peeled for the next big thing. It took him two years of playing with the semipro Mobile Tigers and other local teams to get his first taste of professional ball. His big chance was given to him in the spring of...

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7. Trujillo Es El Jefe

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pp. 32-38

Opportunity came sooner than Trujillo expected. Clumsily President Vásquez tried to tack an extra two years on to his term in office without holding an election. This blunder quickly wore away any patina of democratic fair play and wrecked his popularity...

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8. Opening Day Away

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pp. 39-45

Before he knew it, Dr. José Enrique Aybar was swept up in the hurly burly of opening day. He began by ordering fitted uniforms to be designed in the image of the New York Yankees— pinstripes, except with subtle V- neck cuts. Emblazoned across...

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9. Royal Prerogative

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pp. 46-52

“Licey is the Champ . . . Licey is the Champ,” they sang over and over in the capital city as the crowd burst out of Primavera ballpark and flooded into El Parque Independencia after the deciding game of the 1929 championship series. The victory...

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10. Total Catastrophe

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pp. 53-63

Every afternoon between 1:00 and 3:30, the men sat at long tables with smoke snaking up to the lights from improvised ashtrays. The shades were drawn, with light mostly coming from a cluster of overhead electric bulbs. Their eyes rarely strayed from...

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11. The Stars Arrive

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pp. 64-74

They stood. Standing, waiting, waiting, standing in the hot palace office. President Trujillo sat just a few feet away reading through a sheaf of papers, unaware of their presence. The president was dressed in an Irish linen suit with wide lapels. He...

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12. Después de la Victoria

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pp. 75-81

It was a sight that caught them by surprise. Standing at home plate Satchel and Cy looked out over the right-field fence, past the palms, into the Caribbean. There it sat: a blend of gray, black, and rust, a five- hundred- foot denuded warship...

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13. Nuevos Rumbos

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pp. 82-87

It took the better part of an hour for the men to gather on this hot day. They must have formed in clumps under the speckled shade of the park’s trees and smoked. Waited. Spit. Grumbled. All heads turned as a man with a high forehead, deep-set...

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14. Black Babe Ruth

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pp. 76-100

It was still dark, before dawn. Hattie walked slightly behind him to the front door where his bags were laid out. There wasn’t much—a long canvas sports bag with bats, mitts, and catcher’s gear—a smaller canvas bag with his shaving kit, toothbrush...

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15. Fiesta de la Chapita

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pp. 101-117

They opened the front door of their club and wandered out into the morning heat wearing swimsuits with towels lazily slung over their shoulders, all nine of them— Satchel, Cy, Jabbo, Schoolboy, Cool Papa, Harry, Leroy, Josh, and Sammy. Josh and...

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16. The Maestro’s Coda

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pp. 118-121

Dihigo could still hear the cheering and shouting following the championship game as he changed into his street clothes after the game. When he left the stadium, he walked east along El Malecón to avoid the crowd, which was heading north. He...

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17. The Heartbreaking End of Josh Gibson

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pp. 122-126

Following the Dragones’ victory, Josh and Sammy were swept out of the stadium and down Calle El Conde by the mob. Stuck in the bustle they were alternatively cheered, pushed, touched, kissed, hugged, and toasted. They stalled when the mob congealed...

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18. The Fall of Trujillo

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pp. 127-141

As the summer of 1937 turned into fall, the dictator’s passion for his mistress Lina burned with ever- greater intensity. When her twenty- first birthday arrived on September 23, 1937, Trujillo’s love for Lina was splashed over the front page of the capital’s...

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19. The Persevering Paige

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pp. 142-163

The black overhead fans did the best they could on a late afternoon in June to disperse the hot, grimy Pittsburgh air. Downing a cold, strong drink did a far better job. Gus Greenlee sat in Club Crawford taking the liquid approach. It was late afternoon...

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20. “El Gamo”

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pp. 164-167

Tetelo was immediately recognizable when he walked onto a baseball field, back straight, chin up, proud, modest with a chiseled jawline, sly smile, and friendly brown eyes. He stood five feet ten and weighed 160 pounds with hardly an ounce of...

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21. Y Otras

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pp. 168-173

Perhaps the finest group of baseball players ever assembled played in Trujillo’s 1937 series. Martín Dihigo, Satchel Paige, Tetelo Vargas, and Josh Gibson were titans. And others like Cool Papa Bell, Perucho Cepeda, Luis Tiant, but for the color...

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Epilogue: Tenth Inning

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pp. 174-176

This is not really a story about baseball. It’s a story about power. A dictator on a Caribbean Island decided he needed to rent the best baseball players to win a series dedicated to his “reelection.” This dictator turned to perhaps the most talented baseball...

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Appendix: Notes on Paige’s Magical Pitching

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pp. 177-186

In 1934 Satchel spent a warm winter in Los Angeles singing on the radio and hurling baseballs for the Royal Colored Giants—a team the Los Angeles Times called a “dusky squad.”1 Before throwing his last game of the winter season in Los Angeles, he headed...

Notes

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pp. 187-200

Bibliography

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pp. 201-206

Index

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pp. 207-212

Illustrations

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