Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $28.94

After 2 months, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Editorial Reviews

Bob Motley, with contributions from his son Brian, recounts his days as an umpire in the Negro Leagues in this humorous and illuminating memoir. Though he shared the field with stars such as Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays, Motley managed to make a name for himself with a flamboyant umpiring style that entertained both crowds and players alike. Richard Allen imbues Motley's reminiscences with a jauntily colloquial style that conveys the great fondness and joy he has for his past. Ruling over Monarchs, Giants, and Stars is a loving look back at one of baseball's forgotten eras.

Publisher's Summary

The Kansas City Monarchs, the Chicago American Giants, the St. Louis Stars, the Birmingham Black Barons, the Homestead Grays, and the Indianapolis Clowns; for over 50 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-listen for any baseball fan.

©2007, 2012 Bob Motley and Byron Motley (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“An important step in revealing what has been for most Americans a ‘hidden history.’” (Ken Burns)

What listeners say about Ruling over Monarchs, Giants & Stars

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tony E.
  • Tony E.
  • 02-02-2016

An Umpire Once Forgotten, Now Memorialized

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kikiwriter
  • Kikiwriter
  • 30-05-2021


Be you a lover of baseball or not, this is a great story about a difficult time in our history. It's about a man who was not victimized by his unbelievable circumstances...Please read this. The reader sounds like he is the umpire himself. Brilliant.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.