The BASEBALL RELIQUARY Inc.
THE SHRINE OF THE ETERNALS
Folk-philosopher and self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Pitcher,” the irrepressible Satchel Paige (1906-1982) delighted both black and white baseball fans throughout North America with his pitching artistry and fancy phraseology during a career that spanned over thirty years. Paige inked his first professional contract with the Negro League Chattanooga Lookouts in 1925. Over the next twenty-three seasons, Paige became one of the top drawing cards in Negro League baseball, pitching for powerhouse squads such as the Birmingham Black Barons, the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and the Kansas City Monarchs. His wide array of pitches (each bearing a distinctive Paige nickname: the “bat dodger pitch,” the “two-hump blooper,” the “hurry-up ball”) and mound artistry baffled opposing batsmen. Paige also plied his craft against white major leaguers during various barnstorming stints with the Satchel Paige All-Stars. Nearly all major leaguers agreed that, were it not for segregation, Paige would be a perennial all-star in the majors. In 1948, maverick owner Bill Veeck signed Paige to a contract with the Cleveland Indians. Paige’s 6-1 record, attained largely in relief, helped propel the Indians to a World Series championship, their last in the 20th century. Paige pitched briefly in the majors — culminating in a cameo appearance with the Kansas City A’s in 1965 — compiling a lifetime 28-31 record and a 3.29 ERA. Of the several books written by and about Paige, the most entertaining is his second autobiography, written with David Lipman, Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever (1962). Satch almost did. ~ Written by Albert Kilchesty