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200px-Satchel_Paige.jpg (14929 bytes)


Baseball player (1906-1982)

It is estimated that Leroy "Satchel" Paige was born on July 7,1906.  The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides perfect evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige.  In 1965, 59 years after Paige's supposed birthday, he took the mound for the last time, throwing three shut-out innings for the Kansas City Athletics.  Joe DiMaggio called Satchel Paige "the best and fastest pitcher "I've ever faced."  His pitching was amazing and his showboating was legendary. 

His career highlights span five decades.  Pronounced the greatest pitcher in the history of the Negro Leagues, Paige compiled such feats as 64 consecutive scoreless innings, a stretch of 21 straight wins, and a 31-4 record in 1933.  For twenty-two years, Paige mauled the competition in front of sell-out crowds.  Sure, he liked the attention, but to him, there was only one goal.  That goal would be to pitch in the Major Leagues.  In 1948, Paige's dream came true.  The Cleveland Indians were in need of extra pitching for the pennant race. 

Legendary Bill Veeck tested Paige's accuracy before offering him a big league contract.  As the story is told, Veeck placed a cigarette on the ground to be used as home plate.  Paige took aim at his virtually non-existent target.  He fired five fastballs, all but one sailing directly over the cigarette.  Veeck was indeed pleased, and Paige helped the Indians win the pennant.  In addition to Cleveland, Paige played for St. Louis and Kansas City.  When his Major League career was completed, he compiled a modest 28-31 record with a 3.29 ERA.  What made Paige so memorable was his longevity in the game.  The main reason his age was so difficult to track was his seemingly endless success.  He rarely answered question about his age, and when he did, he replied with something like: "Age is a question of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."  In 1971, Leroy "Satchel" Paige was given the ultimate honor, he was elected to join the very best in baseball history in the Hall of Fame.


Revised: July 18, 2013.