Satchel Paige

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Satchel Paige : biography

July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982

On August 1, 1941, Paige made his first appearance in the East–West All Star Game in five years, collecting 305,311 votes, 40,000 more than the next highest player, Buck Leonard. Paige entered the game at the start of the eighth inning with the East leading 8–1 and pitched the last two innings. The only hit he gave up was a slow roller to the NNL’s new starting catcher, the Baltimore Elite Giants’ Roy Campanella.Ribowsky 1994, pp. 201–202.

With America’s entrance into World War II, Dizzy Dean came out of retirement, forming an all-star team consisting of recently drafted white major league and minor league players. On May 24, Dean faced Paige and the Monarchs in an exhibition game at Wrigley Field, the first time a black team ever played at Wrigley. The Monarchs defeated Dean’s All-Stars 3–1 in front of a crowd of 29,775. On May 31, Paige teamed up with the Homestead Grays to face Dean’s All-Stars again before 22,000 fans at Griffith Stadium. The Grays won 8–1, with Paige striking out seven (including Washington Senators star Cecil Travis) in five innings of work.Snyder 2003, pp. 114–116.

In the 1942 East-West All-Star Game, Paige entered in the top of the seventh with the score tied 2–2. Pitching the last three innings, he allowed three runs on five hits and was charged with the loss in the 5–2 game.Clark and Lester 1994, p. 249.

1942 Negro World Series

The Monarchs won the Negro American League pennant again in 1942. For the first time since 1927, the champions of the two leagues, Kansas City and Washington/Homestead, met in the Negro World Series. Paige started game one in Washington and pitched five shutout innings. The Monarchs scored their first run in the top of the sixth. In the bottom of the frame, Jack Matchett relieved Paige and finished the game, with Kansas City adding seven more runs to win 8–0.Holway 2001, p. 398; Peterson 1984, p. 138; Snyder 2003, pp. 140–141 .

Game two was played two days later in Pittsburgh, and a highlight was Paige’s dramatic showdown with Josh Gibson. In the bottom of the sixth, Paige relieved starter Hilton Smith with the Monarchs ahead 2–0. In the seventh inning, he gave up three singles and faced Gibson with the bases loaded and two outs. Gibson fouled off the first two pitches, then whiffed on the third. When Paige told the story in his autobiography, he mythologized the story. According to Paige, the strikeout came in the ninth inning with a one-run lead, and he walked the three batters ahead of Gibson in order to face him.Paige and Lipman 1993, p. 152. The mythical version was retold by Buck Leonard and Buck O’Neil in their memoirs.Tye 2009, p. 250. In the actual game, the Monarchs added three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 5–0 lead, then Paige gave up four in the bottom of the frame to make it 5–4. The Monarchs added another three in the top of the ninth and won 8–4.

After two days rest, Paige started game three, which was played in Yankee Stadium. Paige gave up two runs in the first and was pulled after two innings. Matchett pitched the remainder of the game, which the Monarchs won, 9–3, giving them a 3–0 lead in the series. The next series game was played a week later in Kansas City. When the injury-plagued Grays brought in star players from other teams, including pitcher Leon Day, second baseman Lenny Pearson, and outfielder Ed Stone of the Newark Eagles and shortstop Bus Clarkson of the Philadelphia Stars, the Monarchs played under protest. Day and Paige both pitched complete games, with Paige giving up four runs on eight hits and Day giving up one run on five hits for a Grays victory. The Monarchs’ protest was upheld and the game was disallowed. Game four took place in Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and Paige was scheduled to start, but he did not show up until the fourth inning. According to his autobiography, Paige was delayed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by an arrest for speeding.Paige and Lipman 1993, pp. 146–148. The Grays had taken a 5–4 lead, and Paige immediately entered the game. In the remainder of the game, he did not allow a hit or a run and struck out six, while the Monarchs’ hitters scored two runs in the seventh to take the lead and three more in the eighth to win, 9–5, and sweep the series. Paige had pitched in all four official games in the Series (as well as one unofficial one), going 16 innings, striking out 18, and giving up eight hits and six runs.