PAIGE, LEROY ROBERT "SATCHEL" (7 July 1906-8 June 1982), legendary BASEBALL pitcher, was born in Mobile, Ala., the son of John and Lula (Coleman) Page. He earned the nickname "Satchel" as a child carrying bags at the railroad station: using a rope, carrying more bags and increasing his tips, he looked like a "walking satchel tree." Paige went to industrial school at 12 after truancy problems; and became a semi-pro ballplayer at 17. Pitching in the Negro Professional Leagues from 1926-50, he could not play in the majors because of the unwritten agreement barring blacks (see AFRICAN AMERICANS). Paige was a drawing card, known for his trick pitches, often calling in his outfield while pitching and giving up no runs, and announcing he would strike out a certain number of batters and succeeding. Paige's teams often played and won exhibition games against white major-leaguers. Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean called Paige the best pitcher he ever saw.
Paige first pitched for a Cleveland team, the Negro Natl. League's Cleveland Cubs, in 1931. The team disbanded at midseason. With the elimination of baseball's color line in 1946, Paige signed with the Cleveland Indians at midseason in 1948, becoming the oldest rookie in major-league history at age 42. Paige was 6-1, helping the Indians to their pennant. He was 4-7 in 1949, and released. He pitched with the St. Louis Browns from 1951-53. Paige estimated that he pitched over 2,500 games and won about 2,000. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971. Paige married Janet Howard in 1934; they divorced in 1943. He then married Lahoma Brown in 1947. Paige had 6 children: Carolyn, Lula, Rita, Pamela, Warren and Robert Leroy. He died in Kansas City, Mo. and was buried in the Forest Hill Cemetery there.
Paige, LeRoy (Satchel), as told to David Lipman. Maybe I'll Pitch Forever (1962).
Paige, LeRoy (Satchel), as told to Hal Lebovitz. Pitchin' Man (1948).
Holway, John B. Josh and Satch (1991).
Ribowsky, Mark. Don't Look Back (1994).
View image at Cleveland Public Library.