Leroy "Satchel" Paige

by CJ McGurk

Early Life

Leroy Robert Paige was born on July 7, 1906 in Mobile, Alabama. Paige was number seven of twelve children born to John and Lula Paige. However, Leroy was not called Leroy for very long. As a child, Leroy earned money by carrying luggage, and to help him work more effectively, he rigged a pole to carry several bags at once. The other workers said, "You look like a walking satchel tree," and the name stuck with him for the rest of his life. Even as a child, Satchel had a love for baseball. When Satchel was twelve years old, he got in trouble with the law and was sent to reform school. It was here where he learned of his talent for pitching. Satchel spent five years at the school and during these five years, he constantly practiced pitching. Later in life, Paige said, "You might say I traded five years of freedom to learn how to pitch."

Career

Satchel Paige began his baseball career in 1926. Since African-Americans were not allowed in the Major League, Paige played in the Negro League. While in the Negro League, Satchel played for many teams all across the country and later even played for a few teams outside the country. Between contracts, Paige played a series of exhibition games where he played against many Major League stars like Joe Dimaggio and Dizzy Dean. While playing in the Negro League, Paige put up incredible numbers like going 31-4 in 1933. His statistics were astonishing compared to pitchers in the Major League. In 1948, Paige got what he had been wishing for. After Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by being the first African-American player in the majors, Paige followed. Satchel Paige made his major league debut on July 7, 1948, his 42nd birthday. Paige had then become the oldest rookie in Major League history. Despite his age, Paige went 6-1 that season and led the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. Satchel went on to play five more seasons in the majors and became the oldest player (59) in Major League history. After a great career, Satchel Paige was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. He later died of a heart attack in 1982 at age 74.

Impact

Satchel Paige had a great impact on the 1920's decade. During this time, blacks were treated unfair. However, Satchel Paige proved that blacks could do anything that whites could do, including playing baseball in the Major League. He also provided the people of America with great entertainment by playing professional baseball. Overall, Satchel Paige impacted the 1920's in great ways.
Satchel Paige.

Satchel Paige: Video Questions

1) What was the name of the team that Satchel ran during the summer?

2) What teams did Paige play on during his major league career?