Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio by Robert SkeadIn 1936, the New York Yankees wanted to test a hot prospect named Joe DiMaggio to see if he was ready for the big leagues. They knew just the ballplayer to call--Satchel Paige, the best pitcher anywhere, black or white. For the game, Paige joined a group of amateur African-American players, and they faced off against a team of white major leaguers plus young DiMaggio. Illustrations.
Satchel Paige Facts
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige was born circa July 7, , in Mobile, Alabama, and honed his pitching talents in reform school. Denied entry to the Major Leagues, he began his professional baseball career in the Negro Leagues in and became its most famous showman. Paige finally broke through to the Majors as a year-old rookie, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in He died on June 8, He was the seventh of 12 children born to father John, a gardener, and mother Lula, a washerwoman.
He grew up loving baseball, but received no formal training in the game until age 13, when an arrest for shoplifting landed him in the Alabama Reform School for Juvenile Negro Lawbreakers. There, his powerful arm caught the attention of coach Moses Davis, who first taught him the high leg kick that became a trademark of his windup. Paige went on to sign his first professional baseball contract only a few years after his release. Along with suiting up for a merry-go-round of American teams in the minor, major and Negro leagues, he also hired out his famous right arm to foreign clubs in places like Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Canada. Along with being a first-rate pitcher, Paige was also a consummate showman who reveled in slapstick humor and trick plays. Fans fell in love with his windmill windups, relentless trash talk and leisurely strolls to the mound, and they were especially taken in by his penchant for showboating.
He is rated as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. Paige, who received his distinctive nickname as a young railroad porter, honed his baseball skills while in reform school. He entered the Negro leagues playing for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts in Wearing a false red beard, he also played for the House of David team a team fielded by a communal Christian religious sect that forbade its male members to shave or cut their hair. As a barnstormer, he would travel as many as 30, miles 48, km a year while pitching for any team willing to meet his price. He is reputed to have pitched a total of 2, games during his nearly year career, winning 2, of them. Paige was a colourful and larger-than-life figure in the Negro leagues, prone to stunts such as sending the infield players into the dugout while he pitched or deliberately loading the bases before pitching to Josh Gibson , a hitter of great renown.
At a Glance …. Legend and folklore surround the career of pitcher Satchel Paige.
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A Star in a Segregated Game
Paige was a right-handed pitcher, and at age 42 in , was the oldest major league rookie while playing for the Cleveland Indians. He played with the St. Louis Browns until age 47, and represented them in the All-Star Game in and He was the first player who had played in the Negro leagues to pitch in the World Series, in , and was the first electee of the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame , in Paige first played for the semi-professional Mobile Tigers from to He began his professional baseball career in with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts of the Negro Southern League and became one of the most famous and successful players from the Negro leagues.
Long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier of "organized baseball, " Satchel Paige was a name well known to the general sports public. As an outstanding performer in "Negro baseball, " Paige had become a legendary figure whose encounters with major league players added considerable laurels to his athletic reputation. Legend and folklore surround the career of pitcher Satchel Paige. Only a single indisputable fact emerges: Paige was one of the very best baseball players to take the mound in the twentieth century. The cruel irony of his life is that his best years were spent not in major league baseball as we know it today, but rather in the Negro Leagues and in numerous exhibition games. Paige, whose fastball was once clocked at miles per hour, never performed for a major league team until he was well into his forties—and past his prime.
Toggle navigation. Lula added the 'i' into their last name, making it Paige to sound classy. Satchel grew to 6'4" and began playing in the Negro Southern League of baseball in He became the oldest rookie to enter the Major Leagues in , at the age of Interesting Satchel Paige Facts: As a young man Leroy earned money as a baggage carrier at the train station and rigged up a pole that allowed him to carry more luggage at one time and increase his pay. This is where his nickname came from - when he was told that he looked like a 'walking satchel tree'. Satchel was enrolled in reform school when he was 12 for petty crimes.