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Satchel Paige

Satchel+Paige

Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige was born on July 7, 1906. Satchel Paige was an African American baseball player. His first team was the semi-professional team called the Mobile Tigers. His first professional team was the Chattanooga Black Lookouts from the Negro League. Paige was a right-handed pitcher and was a flame thrower, His fastball was equivalent to today’s 105 mph. He was famous and successful within the black community for being part of the breaking of the color barrier in the MLB and inspiring people to play baseball.

 

Being born in Moblie, Alabama, his family was poor, He was working tote bags at the train station and coined the nickname satchel. Top ball is how he got into baseball. The top ball is a stick and a bottle cap instead of a bat and ball. When he was put into reform school, Moses Davis taught him how to pitch.

 

He was brought on the Chattanooga Black Lookouts by a player/manager Alex Herman. He was paid $250 and he gave the majority to his mother. After his arrival, he recorded 9 strikeouts in 6 innings. The Birmingham Black Barons caught wind of this and the Lookouts sold his contract to them. The Black Barons were part of the Nergo National League—his fastball and wild and awkward. In one instance, he struck a player’s hand and they fought. He improved and matured as a pitcher as he recorded a 7-1 record, 69 strikeouts, and 28 walks in 89 ⅓ innings. Over the next 2 seasons, he would record a 22-14 record with 176 strikeouts. In a game against the Cuban Stars, he would strike out 17 of them setting a record within the negro leagues and tieing the MLB record, Later, he struck out 18 tieing the MLB record again.

Due to his increasing potential, the Black Barons owner would “rent” Paige out to other teams. Between 1929-1931, he would have a short time playing in the Cuban league, the Baltimore Black Sox, the Chicago American Giants, the Nashville Elite Giants, and the Cleveland Cubs, and many others.

 

On July 7, 1948, the owner of the Cleveland Indians had Paige try out for the team. 2 days later, he signed with the Indians at the age of 42. The contract was worth $40,000. This contract meant that Paige was the oldest man to debut in the American and National League. Paige played for 2 MLB teams, The Indians and the Browns. After he retired from the MLB, he continued to play in exhibition games. His last game was an exhibition game against Greensboro Yankees with future big leaguers like Steve Mingori and Johnny Bench. Paige pitched until he was sixty years old. 

 

After he retired from baseball, he requested to get signed by 20 MLB teams to qualify for a five-year minimum pension. He was signed to the Braves as an assistant trainer for the final years. Paige had three wives and seven children. Paige died of a heart attack inside of his Kanas City home on June 8, 1982. His legacy will stain baseball forever as he was elected to the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

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