Satchel Paige

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Paigesatchel.jpg

Leroy Robert Paige

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 3", Weight 180 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1971

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." - an oft-quoted saying by Satchel Paige

". . . the best and fastest pitcher I've ever faced." - Joe DiMaggio

Satchel Paige was a great Negro League pitcher who was still effective when he came to the white major leagues in his 40's. Some of his quotes became quite famous.

It was common, during his career in the white majors, for observers to speculate about his age. The official Paige site (www.satchelpaige.com) thinks he was born in 1905, but during his lifetime all manner of dates were guessed. Bill Veeck, the owner of the Cleveland Indians when Satchel debuted, attempted to research his birthdate and concluded that he must have been born before 1900 (as written in Veeck as in Wreck). Satchel stoked the flames himself, by saying various things about his age:

"I was born in August - no, July - 1908."

"I've said it once and I'll say it a hundred times, I'm forty-four years old."

His baseball career started in semi-pro ball in 1924. He came to the Negro Leagues in 1927, and although he pitched for many teams over a long career, his time with the Kansas City Monarchs is most famous.

He came to the white major leagues with the Cleveland Indians in 1948, and pitched from 1948 top 1953, mostly with a good ERAs, with 1950 spent in the minors. As a "rookie" in 1948, he went 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA, and had an ERA of 0.00 in 2/3 inning in the 1948 World Series, which the Indians won. Much later, in 1965, he came back to pitch three more innings in the majors, at an age that was close to 60, and he gave up no runs and only one hit. He was the last major league player to play while older than the sitting US President - Lyndon B. Johnson.

Paige, in addition to being a fastballer with incredible speed, was also a showman and storyteller.

Paige was an Atlanta Braves coach in 1968 and 1969.

His first Baseball Card appearance was in the 1949 Bowman set.

"Satchel Paige is the best pitcher I ever saw. I hit against Feller in his prime, but Paige ... he was just fast. Just straight overhand. He'd lift that leg and show down on you." - Monte Irvin

Famous Feats[edit]

  • Paige was the first African-American to pitch in a World Series game. He pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief for Cleveland in Game 5 of the 1948 World Series. The Indians' pitching had been dominant up until that point, as they got complete games from their starters in each of the first four games. However, the Braves battered Bob Feller and scored six times in the 7th inning of Game 5. Only Paige could stop the bleeding and end the inning, in a game the Indians went on to lose 11-5.
  • Paige was perhaps the greatest pitcher in the history of the California Winter League. He holds the records for wins (56), strikeouts (766, more than the next two combined - Bullet Joe Rogan and Walter Johnson, games (80) and shutouts (17, 5 more than Johnson). He was tied for second in complete games (47, 5 behind Rogan) and third in winning percentage (.889, behind Willie Foster and Schoolboy Griffith, just ahead of Johnson).
  • Paige pitched two no-hitters, both for the Pittsburgh Crawfords. In his second no-hitter in on July 4 1934, Paige struck out 17 men, establishing the all-time Negro Leagues record, and matching what was then the white Major League record for a single game. Four days later, Paige was on the other end of a no-hitter, to Sug Cornelius and the Chicago American Giants, but he pitched shutout ball and beat the American Giants 3-0 in 10 innings.
  • During some time away from baseball, he appeared in the 1959 movie "The Wonderful Country".

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 8-time All-Star (1933/NNL, 1934/NNL, 1936/NNL, 1941-1943/NAL, 1952/AL & 1953/AL)
  • NAL Pitcher's Triple Crown (1944)
  • 2-time League ERA Leader (1933/NNL & 1944/NAL)
  • 2-time NAL Wins Leader (1943 & 1944)
  • 2-time League Winning Percentage Leader (1936/NNL & 1941/NAL)
  • 2-time NAL Games Pitched Leader (1943 & 1944)
  • 2-time NNL Saves Leader (1928 & 1933)
  • 3-time NAL Innings Pitched Leader (1942-1944)
  • 6-time League Strikeouts Leader (1928/NNL, 1929/NNL, 1936/NNL & 1942-1944 NAL)
  • 3-time League Shutouts Leader (1930/NLL, 1936/NNL & 1944/NAL)
  • Won one Negro World Series with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1942
  • Won one World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 1948
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1971

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jonathan Blitzer: "Satchel Paige and the Championship for the re-election of the General", The Atavist Magazine, Number 57, Spring 2016. [1]
  • Luke Epplin: Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball, Flatiron Books, New York, NY, 2021. ISBN 9781250313799
  • William Price Fox: Satchel Paige's America, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 2005. ISBN 0-8173-5189-2
  • Lew Freedman: Baseball's Funnymen: Twenty-Four Jokers, Screwballs, Pranksters and Storytellers, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2017. ISBN 978-1-4766-6358-6
  • Timothy M. Gay: Satch, Dizzy and Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4165-4798-3
  • Leslie A. Heaphy, ed.: Satchel Paige and Company: Essays on the Kansas City Monarchs, their Greatest Star and the Negro Leagues, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007. ISBN 0786430753
  • Matt Kelly: "Satchel Paige: A Legendary Talent That's Hard to Fathom", "The Negro Leagues", mlb.com. [2]
  • Matt Monagan: "The night Satchel helicoptered to the mound: And turned around a young pitcher's career", mlb.com, August 11, 2020. [3]
  • Satchel Paige: Maybe I'll Pitch Forever, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1993 (originally published in 1962). ISBN 0-8032-8732-1
  • Mark Ribowsky: Don't Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, Da Capo Presss, New York, 1994. ISBN 0-306-80963-X
  • Averell "Ace" Smith: The Pitcher and the Dictator: Satchel Paige's Unlikely Season in the Dominican Republic, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2018. ISBN 978-1-4962-0549-0
  • Donald Spivey: "If You Were Only White": The Life of Leroy "Satchel" Paige, University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO, 2012. ISBN 0826219780
  • Larry Tye: Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, Random House, New York, NY, 2009. ISBN 1-4000-6651-4

Related Sites[edit]