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 History Players Teams Obituaries Site search Contact UsSponsor a page on Historic Baseball! Click here for detailsSatchel PaigeLeroy Robert PaigeBorn: July 7, 1906 in Mobile, Ala.Died: June 8, 1982 in Kansas City, Mo.Debut: 1948 | Pos: PH: 6’4″ | W: 180 | B: R | T: RYRWLGSVIPSOERA6283117932476.02903.29>> Visit theSatchel Paige biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.Think about the five greatestpitchers ever in baseball and who comes to mind? Cy Young? Christy Mathewson?Walter Johnson? Bob Feller? Steve Carlton?However, there’s another pitcher that should be mentioned in that same list of greats. Satchel Paige pitched for nearly four decades, spending time in the Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball.In 476 innings in Major League Baseball, Paige finished with a 28-31 record and a 3.29 earned run average. Those alone aren’t Hall of Fame numbers, but take into consideration the fact that Paige didn’t pitch in the majors until he was 41 years old. His last outing in the majors came when he was 58 and he threw three scoreless innings.Paige’s true age, however, is part of the controversy and flash of his character. Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, the seventh of 11 children, during a time when accurate birth records were not readily available. Some insist that Paige was born in 1906, making his debut in the Majors come when he was 41 to 42.However,Negro Leaguer Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, also born in Mobile, insiststhat Paige was born in 1900. In his autobiography, Radcliffe says thatPaige was two years older than himself and they started playing togetherwhen Radcliffe was 15 and Paige was 17. Add that into the equation andPaige wouldn’t have started his Major League career until he was 48.Paige seemed to avoid the question of age. However, he did come up with a response for those who wanted to ask.”Age is a question of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”A look at Paige Paige was described as alanky man. He stood 6’3” and had the charisma to win over fans anywherehe went. His pitching style, a distinctive windmill delivery, was partof the show and his pitches carried colorful nicknames:The Two-Hump Blooper:Paige’s moving changeup Little Tom: His mediumfastball Long Tom: His hard fastball Hesitation Pitch: He pausedin his delivery to the plate and then continued. He earned the name “Satchel” as a child. To earn money, he worked to carry suitcases at the train depot in Mobile.  His friends called him Satchel after he rigged a pole and some rope to carry multiple bags at the same time.Paige also had his own thoughts on his pitching abilities.”I never threw an illegalpitch,” Paige said. “The trouble is, once in a while I would toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation.”Getting in the game In 1918, Satchel Paige wassent to the state Industrial School for Negro Children after having someproblems with truancy and shoplifting. He used the time there to develophis pitching skills and was released in 1923.Paige joined a local semi-pro team the summer following his release. In two years, he was playing in the Negro Southern League for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts. From that point on, Paige’s life was pitching. When he wasn’t pitching in the Negro Leagues, he was barnstorming against Major Leaguers or playing in Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.After the 1934 season, he went on a tour with Dizzy Dean. Paige won four of the six games they pitched against each other. “My fastball looks like a change of pace along side that little pistol bullet old Satchel shoots up to the plate,” Dean said.In another tour, he faced Joe DiMaggio. Paige was “best I’ve ever faced and the fastest,” DiMaggio said.At the height of his career, Paige was earning $40,000 a year. Those earnings were more than most Major Leaguers made at the time.In the Negro Leagues Satchel Paige’s list ofNegro League teams includes the Kansas City Monarchs, the Birmingham BlackBarons. By some accounts, Paige pitched in more than 2.500 innings in hiscareer.Some of the pitching feats attributed to Paige in the Negro Leagues include 64 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, 21 consecutive pitching victories and a 31-4 record in 1933. He is also credited with starting 29 games in a month and pitching 55 career shutouts.In the Major Leagues Paige was over 40 when JackieRobinson broke baseball’s color barrier.  Still, the Cleveland Indians’Bill Veeck saw and opportunity and purchased Paige’s contract from theKansas City Monarchs on July 7, 1948. Paige was the first black pitcherin the American League and the oldest rookie pitcher ever.Paige began his career pitching as a reliever, but on August 3, he faced Washington as a starter and got a 5-3 victory.  In 72 innings, he finished with a 6-1 record and 2.48 earned run average and helped the Cleveland Indians to capture the World Series title. After pitching in 80 innings in 1949 and finishing with a 4-7 record and a 3.04 earned run average, Paige was released by the Indians. When Bill Veeck bought the St. Louis Browns in 1951, he signed Paige again. Paige pitched for three more years, but his most productive year in the majors was 1952. He finished with a 12-10 record, 10 saves and a 3.07 earned run average in 138 innings. Paige accomplished this at 45 (or 51 depending on which version you believe.)After being released in 1954,Paige pitched a year for the Kansas City Monarchs and then three yearsfor Veeck’s Miami Marlins of the International League. Paige appeared one last time in the Majors. In 1965, at 58, he pitched three shutout innings for the Kansas City Athletics, collecting a strikeout. In his major league career, Paige never committed an error.Paige took a job with the Atlanta Braves in 1968-69 as a coach to finish out his Major League pension. After baseball Following his retirementfrom baseball, Paige was an active speaker and was the subject of frequentinterviews. He died on June 8, 1982 in Kansas City.Paige and other Negro League players got a boost in their Hall of Fame chances when slugger Ted Williams lobbied for Paige’s inclusion in the hall during his own induction. Paige was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues in 1971.