Satchel Paige became the first black ever to pitch in the American League, and the fifth to play in the major leagues. As the majors’ oldest rookie, Paige had a 6-1 record, mostly in relief, as Cleveland won the 1948 pennant. He also pitched for the St. Louis Browns, and pitched three innings for the Kansas City Athletics in 1965 at the age of 59.
Full Name: Leroy Robert Paige
Born: July 7, 1906 Mobile, Alabama
Died: June 8, 1982 Kansas City, Missouri
Height: 6'3 1/2"
Did You Know?
* He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
* Satchel was over 40 years old the entire time he played in the majors.
* He earned his nickname, "Satchel," as a young boy, when he took a job carrying bags (and satchels) at railroad stations for passengers.
* Satchel started his career in 1924 when he had a tryout with the Mobile Tigers, a semi-pro baseball team.
* He went on to become the dominant pitcher of the Negro Leagues.
* When the Negro League wasn't playing in the winter, he would go to the Caribbean leagues and pitch.
* He claimed that the more that he pitched, the stronger he got, so he did not work out on his own.
* He started 29 games in one month in Bismarck, North Dakota.
* He claimed that he won 104 of the 105 games he pitched in 1934.
* He would face major league players annually by playing against major league barnstorming teams.
* He was brought into the major leagues in 1948 by Bill Veeck to play for Cleveland.
* He holds the record for being the oldest rookie in the Major League.
* In his first year with Cleveland, he went 6-1 with one save and a 2.48 ERA.
* He ended his six-year major league career with a 28-31 record and a 3.29 ERA.
* Joe DiMaggio called him "the best and fastest pitcher I've ever faced."
* He retired in 1953.
* He made a special appearance in 1965, pitching 3 innings for the Kansas City Athletics.
* Pitching for the Kansas City Athletics made him the oldest player in the Major Leagues.
* Paige did not commit a single error in 179 major league games.
Some Quotes: (I am going to keep that last one in mind.)
"My pitching philosophy is simple; you gotta keep the ball off the fat part of the bat."
"I never had a job. I always played baseball."
"I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I would toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation."
"Mother always told me, if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else."
"Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common."
"Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"