Satchel Paige

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Satchel Paige : biography

July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982

In 1952, Rogers Hornsby, an alleged former member of the Ku Klux Klan, took over as manager of the Browns. Despite past accusations of racism, Hornsby was less hesitant to use Paige than Boudreau was four years before. Paige was so effective that when Hornsby was fired by Veeck, his successor Marty Marion seemed not to want to risk going more than three games without using Paige in some form. By July 4, with Paige having worked in 25 games, Casey Stengel named him to the American League All-Star team, making him the first black pitcher on an AL All-Star team. The All-Star game was cut short after five innings due to rain and Paige never got in. Stengel resolved to name him to the team the following year. Paige finished the year 12–10 with a 3.07 ERA for a team that lost ninety games.McElrath, Jessica. . About.com. 14 March 2009.

Stengel kept his word and named Paige to the 1953 All-Star team despite Paige not having a very good year. He got in the game in the eighth inning. First, Paige got Gil Hodges to line out, then after Roy Campanella singled up the middle, Eddie Mathews popped out. He then walked Duke Snider, and Enos Slaughter lined a hit to center to score Campanella. National League pitcher Murry Dickson drove in Snider, but was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the hit into a double. Paige ended the year with a disappointing 3–9 record, but a respectable 3.53 ERA. Paige was released after the season when Veeck once again had to sell the team.

Paige once again returned to his barnstorming days with Abe Saperstein. They formed a baseball version of Saperstein’s Harlem Globetrotters. Paige then joined the real Globetrotters when he joined one of their most popular "reams"—the "baseball routine". Paige would "pitch" the basketball to Goose Tatum, who would "bat" the ball with his arms, run around the "bases" and slide "home" safely. Paige never actually played on the team, though., retrieved March 21, 2008 Although he was making a decent living, Paige grew tired of the constant travel. His family had grown with the birth of his fourth child and first son, Robert Leroy.

Paige then signed for $300 a month and a percentage of the gate to play for the Monarchs again. Then, on August 14, 1955, Paige signed a contract with the Greensboro Patriots of the Carolina League. He was scheduled to pitch at home three days later against the Philadelphia Phillies farm team, the Reidsville Luckies, but before he could suit up, Phillies farm director Eddie Collins wired George Trautman, president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, to protest Paige’s appearance. Trautman, dealing with the integration of southern baseball against a Jim Crow backdrop, ruled that the signing was invalid, but the Greensboro team reminded him that the Carolina League had already approved the contract. Trautman then ruled that Greensboro could only use Paige in exhibition games. Unfortunately, Greensboro had already scheduled Paige to pitch in a regular season game which was sold out in advance and could not change it to an exhibition. In the end, the game was canceled when Hurricane Diane hit the Carolinas.

Veeck once again came to Paige’s rescue when, after taking control of the Phillies’ triple-A farm team, the Miami Marlins of the International League, he signed Paige to a contract for $15,000 and a percentage of the gate. Marlins manager Don Osborn did not want Paige and said that he would only use him in exhibition games. Veeck made a deal with Osborn that he could line up his best nine hitters, rotating them in from their positions in the field, and Veeck agreed to pay ten dollars to any of them who get a clean hit off of Paige. Paige retired all nine and Osborn agreed to make Paige a roster player. In Paige’s first game as a Marlin, he pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout. Osborn, a former minor league pitcher, taught Paige the proper way to throw a curveball, which allowed Paige to tear through the International League. Paige finished the season 11–4 with an ERA of 1.86 with 79 strikeouts and only 28 walks. This time, when Veeck left the team, Paige was allowed to stay on, for two more years.