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  • Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants, and Stars: True Tales of Breaking Barriers, Umpiring Baseball Legends, and Wild Adventures in the Negro Leagues

       (1 review)

    Umpire in Chief

    Ruling-Over-Monarchs-Giants-Stars.jpg.f6The Kansas City Monarchs, the Chicago American Giants, the St. Louis Stars, the Birmingham Black Barons, the Homestead Grays, and the Indianapolis Clowns; for over fifty years, they were the Yankees, Cardinals, and Red Sox of black baseball in America. And for over a decade beginning in the late 1940s, umpire Bob Motley called balls and strikes for many of their games, working alongside such legends as Satchel Paige, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and Willie Mays.

    Today, Motley is the only living arbiter from the Negro Leagues. His personal account of the Negro Leagues is a revealing, humorous, and unforgettable memoir celebrating a long-lost league and a remarkable group of baseball players. In Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants, and Stars Motley and his son Byron share the characters, adventures, and challenges faced by these amazing men as they enthusiastically embraced America’s pastime and made it their own. Filled with stories of talented heroes, small miracles, and downright fun, this unique memoir is a must-read for any baseball fan.

    Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants, and Stars: True Tales of Breaking Barriers, Umpiring Baseball Legends, and Wild Adventures in the Negro Leagues - Available at Amazon.

    Edited by Umpire in Chief

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    Darkside Umpire

    • 5

    This book is the autobiography of Bob Motley, an umpire in the Negro Leagues from the years right before the integration of baseball to the end of the Negro Leagues. He also had some time in the Pacific Coast League and worked with Emmitt Ashford before Emmitt promoted to the MLB and became the first African-American Umpire in the MLB. 

    Bob Motley has a very colorful style of telling his story. He uses colorful language in everyday conversation and his stories are engaging, funny, heart-breaking at times, and a real eye opener for the hardships that men of color faced. Ultimately, this is the story of an underdog who never gives up and never lets anyone keep him down.

    The story begins with his formative years in Mobile, Alabama and the racism which was a common part of his life. One of the my most memorable parts is when, after playing a couple of years of sandlot ball, he convinces a traveling team to give him a shot at pitcher and his reactions when they do give him a shot. Let's just say that he didn't make it as a player but got the opportunity to umpire and he was hooked. 

    Race is a big part of this story. Ultimately, Motley doesn't let institutional racism keep him down but continues to fight through it to chase his dreams. The story shows a proud black man who fought through it all and came out on top, not jaded, but appreciative of the opportunities of which he took full advantage. He is a Royals fan, lives in Kansas City, and is a major part of their organization. He seems to be getting the respect now that he deserved for many years.

    Some views from an umpire: There are stories that he tells that shows how green he was for many years. He was dedicated to the craft and loved the game of baseball but would probably make many umpires today uneasy with his flamboyant style and his raw emotions.It is encouraging, though, that even after umpiring for years in the Negro Leagues, becoming the UIC,and being the chief umpire of the East/West game for many years, he approached umpire school with the knowledge that there was something he could learn and became a better umpire through it. 

    Some of the rules he maintained for himself while riding from game to game on the team bus allowed him to be seen as an impartial arbitrator on the field. While he was in awe at times being able to umpire some of his childhood heroes, such as Satchel Paige, he was able to keep a level head and call his game.

    Overall, this is a good read which made me want to look up more about the Negro Leagues, I caught it on Audible as an audio book. The narration is fantastic. In my hierarchy of books about umpires, I'd place this above "Everything Happens in Chillocothe" and right below "Men in Blue: Conversations with Umpires." 

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