Satchel Paige

Pitcher

Class of 1971

Satchel Paige

Pitcher

Class of 1971
Leroy “Satchel” Paige was bigger than mere numbers.

Games

Birth year

About Satchel Paige

The numbers do not do justice to his legend. The stories, however, keep alive the memory of a man who became bigger than the game. Leroy “Satchel” Paige was bigger than mere numbers. Apocryphal stories surround Paige, who was born July 7, 1906 in Mobile, Ala. He began his professional career in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s after being discharged from reform school in Alabama. The lanky 6-foot-3 right-hander quickly became the biggest drawing card in Negro baseball, able to overpower batters with a buggy-whipped fastball. Paige, a showman at heart, bounced from team-to-team in search of the best paycheck – often pitching hundreds of games a year between regular Negro Leagues assignments and barnstorming opportunities. During the 1930s, Paige’s stints with Negro National League powerhouse Pittsburgh Crawfords were interrupted by seasons with teams in North Dakota and the Dominican Republic. In the late 1930s, Paige developed arm problems for the first time. Kansas City Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson signed Paige to his “B” team, giving Paige time to heal. Within a year, Paige’s shoulder had recovered and his fastball returned. As he aged, the control he once used to dazzle fans now became his primary weapon as a pitcher. “He could throw the ball right by your knees all day,” said Cool Papa Bell. At the age of 42, Paige made his American League debut when Bill Veeck signed him to a contract with the Indians on July 7, 1948. Two days later, Paige made his debut for a Cleveland club involved in one of the tightest pennant races in American League history. That summer and fall, Paige went 6-1 with three complete games and a save and a 2.48 earned-run average. Cleveland won the AL pennant in a one-game playoff against Boston, then captured the World Series title in six games against the Braves. Paige became the first African-American pitcher to pitch in the World Series when he worked two-thirds of an inning in Game 5. Paige pitched for the Indians again in 1949, then spent three seasons with the St. Louis Browns from 1951-53, earning two All-Star Game selections. He then returned to life in the minors and barnstorming, resurfacing in the majors at the age of 59 in a one-game stint with the Athletics on Sept. 25, 1965. He pitched three shutout innings. Paige was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 as the first electee of the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues. He passed away on June 8, 1982. “Age is a question of mind over matter,” Paige said. “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

The Basics

Year inducted
1971
Birth Place
Mobile, Alabama
Birth Year
1906
Died
1982, Kansas City Missouri

Career at a Glance

Primary Team
Kansas City Monarchs
Primary Position
Pitcher
Bats
Right
Throws
Right
Played For
Birmingham Black Barons, 1927-1930
Cleveland Cubs, 1931
Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1933-1934
Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1936
Kansas City Monarchs, 1941-1947
Memphis Red Sox, 1943
Cleveland Indians, 1948-1949
St. Louis Browns, 1951-1953
Kansas City Athletics, 1965

Career MLB Stats

Games
391
Runs
635
Hits
1,411
Walks
440

Satchel Paige Stories

Explore the archives and go deep into the lives, careers, and stories of the Hall of Fame's honorees.

Satchel Paige, at 46, fires shutout

Satchel Paige pitches for A’s at age 59

Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group

Paige debuts with Indians at 42

Feller, Paige teamed up for 1946 barnstorming tour

In 1971, Satchel Paige came to Cooperstown

Hilton Smith crafted legendary Negro Leagues career

Black newspapers preserved Negro Leagues history