Original air date: 6/27
Every Monday at 11 a.m., The Mike Slater Show features the Biographer of the Week, during which Slater poses the same question to every guest: what are three characteristics of this person you've written about that best define them and how can we apply those characteristics to our lives?
"I always played the game fairly and tried my hardest," he wrote in his own autobiography, which Ritchie thoroughly mines, "although I was not always given a square deal or anything like it ... I only ask from them the same kind of treatment which I give and am willing to continue to give."
This week, Mike welcomed Andrew Ritchie, author of Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer. Here's what the back of the books says:
World champion at 19... One of the first black athletes to become world champion in any sport... 1-mile record holder... American sprint champion in 1898, 1899, 1900... triumphant tours of Europe and Australia... Victories against all European champions...
Until now a forgotten, shadowy figure, Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor is here revealed as one of the early sports world's most stylish, entertaining, and gentlemanly personalities. Born in 1878 in Indianapolis, the son of poor rural parents, Taylor worked in a bike shop until prominent bicycle racer "Birdie" Munger coached him for his first professional racing successes in 1896.
Despite continuous bureaucratic?and, at times, physical?opposition, he won his first national championship two years later and became world champion in 1899 in Montreal. This beautifully illustrated, vividly narrated, and scrupulously researched biography recreates the life of a great international athlete at the turn of the century.
Based on ten years of research?including extensive interviews with Major Taylor's 91-year old daughter?this is the dramatic story of a young black man who, against prodigious odds, rose to fame and stardom in the tempestuous world of international professional bicycle racing a century ago.
Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer? is available right here on Amazon.