It is estimated that Leroy "Satchel" Paige was born on
July 7, 1906. The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides
evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige. In 1965, 60 years
after Paige's supposed birthday, he took the mound for the last
throwing three shutout 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 22 years, Paige mauled the competition
in front of sellout crowds. Sure, he liked the attention, but to him,
there was only one goal. That goal would be to pitch in the Major
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
a home plate. Paige took aim at his virtually nonexistent 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
record with a 3.29 ERA. He also served as coach for the Atlanta
Braves in 1968. What made Paige so memorable was his longevity in
the game. The main reason
was so difficult
his seemingly endless success. He rarely answered questions 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
In 1971, Leroy "Satchel" Paige was given the ultimate honor,
he was elected to join the very best in baseball history in the Hall