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I came upon this book by accident. I was searching through the baseball books and saw the umpire on the cover, so upon closer look found out that this was indeed about an umpire in the Negro Leagues. Cool, another book about an umpire. Let me get that. I'm glad I did.
Bob Motley is a proud black man and it shows in his writing. Written by Bob and his son, this is a history of a man who grew up in the segregated south, met many hardships due to the color of his skin, but always improved, always pushed, and ultimately succeeded when no one gave him a chance.
This autobiography starts from his childhood and goes through his retirement years. The stories of institutional racism in not only baseball but also life are poignant but he didn't let other people's prejudices define who he was. He kept pushing through and became a success.
Some of my favorite parts are his short-lived playing career and his work with Emmett Ashford in the Pacific Coast League. Having learned about Emmett Ashford in "Men in Blue: Interviews with Umpires" (Also available on audible), it was good to see him from an outside view. Both Ashford and Motley seem to have been incredible umpires and men.
The storytelling in this book is captivating and the narration is excellent. Some warnings, the language is strong as Mr. Motley doesn't hold anything back. Some of the stories are risque but then, so is life.
I had never heard of Bob Motley but I am so glad he decided to share his story before it was forgotten. This is a great book for anyone who loves the history of the game, umpires, people wanting to know more about the inner workings of the Negro League, and fans of the underdog coming out on top.
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