Satchel Paige

1 May

With the recent release of the movie 42 about the first Black man to play major league baseball (officially), it got me thinking about where did the Black man play before April 15, 1947 when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Well, my research led me quickly to a guy I have never heard of which is quite sad. It is amazing how the media can get us to focus on what it wants us to focus on. It’s like this guy I found didn’t even exist.The remarkable man is LeRoy Satchel Paige (born Page).

I got most of my intel from Larry Tye, the author of Satchel, the Life and Times of an American Legend.Satchel was born in 1906 and ended up stealing some trinkets which led him to be placed in a reform school for “Negros” (I hate that title). Yea, they had institutions just for Black youngsters. However, Satchel’s destiny was sprung from this placement because he met a man who taught him how to pitch a baseball.

Satchel signed his 1st “professional” contract as a pitcher in 1926 for the “Negros” league. Yea, that is where the Black man was while only the White man was given the right to play in major league baseball. Unbelievable! But true.Satchel would go on to play baseball, 12 months out of the year. That means he didn’t take a rest like players do today. And he didn’t just pitch every few days like they do today, he pitched almost daily at times.

Satchel pitched against many of the greats like Joe DiMaggio who said that Satchel was “the fastest pitcher” he ever faced.Satchel had such great control, that he could knock down match boxes placed at home plate from over 60 feet away. He was a great self promoter (kinda like Deion Sanders was a few years back, I suppose). Satchel said, “I gave White people what they wanted.”

Satchel finally got his chance to play in the majors in 1948 with the Cleveland Indians. He was the first Black man to pitch in the majors. In his first seven games, Paige went 6-1 with an ERA of only 2.48 (at the age of 42, the oldest “rookie” ever).

The MLB record books record Nolan Ryan and (66′-93′) and Cap Anson (1871-1897) as having the longest major league careers at 27 years. But our legend, played professionally for 39 years. He played his last baseball game at the age of 59 in 1965. Incredible! Satchel was rightly voted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 71′. Tye said that Satchel had “baseball’s most prolific career” ever.

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2 Responses to “Satchel Paige”

  1. linux vps August 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

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