- NAME: Satchel Paige
- OCCUPATION: Baseball Player
- BIRTH DATE: c. July 07, 1906
- DEATH DATE: June 08, 1982
- Did You Know?: Satchel Paige was the first Negro pitcher in the American League and the seventh Negro big leaguer overall.
- Did You Know?: In 1971, Satchel Paige became the first African-American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Did You Know?: Satchel Paige is the oldest rookie in baseball history, debuting in the major leagues on his 42nd birthday.
- EDUCATION: Industrial School for Negro Children
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Mobile, Alabama
- PLACE OF DEATH: Kansas City, Missouri
- Full Name: Leroy Robert Page
- Nickname: Satchel Paige
- AKA: Leroy Page
- AKA: Satchel Page
Best Known For
African-American baseball pitcher Satchel Paige became the oldest rookie in Major League history and the first Negro League player in the Hall of Fame.
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According to some accounts, Paige compiled 31 wins against just four losses in 1933, and also accumulated streaks of 64 consecutive scoreless innings and 21 straight victories. Paige insisted that he kept his own records and reported pitching in more than 2,500 games and winning 2,000 or so, as well as playing for 250 teams and throwing 250 shutouts, staggering numbers when compared to those of Major League pitchers.
In 1948, Paige's dream came true. With the big league color barrier broken by Jackie Robinson and the Cleveland Indians in need of extra pitching, owner Bill Veeck gave the veteran Negro League star a tryout. Veeck reportedly laid a cigarette on the ground and told Paige to think of it as home plate; the hurler then threw five fastballs, all but one sailing directly over the cigarette.
On July 7, 1948, his 42nd birthday, Paige became the oldest player to debut in the Major Leagues, as well as the first Negro League pitcher in the American League. Drawing huge crowds when he pitched, Paige went 6-1 with an outstanding 2.48 ERA in half of a season, helping the Indians win the World Series. He pitched one more season with Cleveland, then returned to the Majors for three years with the St. Louis Browns.
Despite his age, Paige continued to tour regularly for hefty appearance fees. At age 59 on September 25, 1965, he became the oldest player in Major League history, marking the occasion by throwing three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit for the Kansas City Athletics. He finished his big league career with a 28-31 record, 32 saves and a 3.29 ERA.
One of baseball's most famous players of any color, Paige lived the sort of life in which myth became difficult to separate from reality. According to the stories, he was once served divorce papers by a wife as he walked out to the mound at Wrigley Field, and another time pitched for Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo's team to decide the outcome of an election. Still, the accounts of his unparalleled talents were likely true; Paige was renowned for his hard fastballs and his signature "hesitation" pitch, but he could do anything with the ball that he wanted.
Paige wrote a couple of autobiographies, including Maybe I'll Pitch Forever: A Great Baseball Player Tells the Hilarious Story Behind the Legend, in which he secretly lamented not being the first black player in the major League instead of Robinson, but he bore it with equanimity.
He held a number of firsts, including becoming the first player from the Negro Leagues to be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, in 1971. Despite his incredible longevity, Paige rarely addressed the issue of his age, often quoting Mark Twain: "Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
The legendary pitcher died of a heart attack in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 8, 1982, less than a month before his 75th birthday.
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