Today In History: Satchel Paige Nominated To Hall of Fame
Today in 1971, Leroy “Satchel” Paige was nominated to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first former Negro League player to be nominated. A legendary pitcher, Paige was inducted in August of ’71.
He was born in Mobile, Alabama, though his exact birthday is actually unknown. His first job was carrying luggage at train stations, earning Leroy his “satchel” nickname.
He first started playing pro ball in the twenties, when the game still had racially segregated leagues. The majority of Paige’s career was spent in the Negro League, traveling south to Central and South America and the Caribbean to play ball abroad during the winter.
He was willing to pitch for any team who could afford his fee, and seemingly never stopped working and traveling. Estimates place his total pro games played at somewhere around 2,500. By one account, he once pitched 29 games in a month in 1935.
Paige entered the Major Leagues a year after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. When Paige was recruited to the Cleveland Indians, he was forty two years old, making him the oldest rookie in Major League history.
1953 brought Paige’s retirement, though he did pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s in 1965. He set another age record in the process. At age 59, he was the oldest person who had ever played in a Major League game.
Paige is remembered for his prodigious pitching skills as well as his wit. He passed away on June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.