Satchel Paige Biography

Satchel Paige, also known as Leroy Robert Paige, was a legendary African-American baseball player. Despite facing racism and only playing in the Major League Baseball for five years, he made a lasting impact. Known for his fastballs and curveballs, Paige developed a unique pitching style called the “hesitation pitch” due to an arm injury. He holds the record as the oldest man to debut in the major National League and was the first Negro pitcher in the American League. With his exceptional skills, professionalism, and commitment, Paige gained fans from all over the world. He believed that age was not a barrier to success, famously quoting Mark Twain, “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Leroy Robert Paige
  • Died At Age: 75
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Janet Howard, Lahoma Jean Brown
    • Father: John Coleman
    • Mother: Lula
    • Siblings: Wilson
    • Children: Carolyn Lahoma, Linda Sue, Lula Ouida, Pamela Jean, Rita Jean, Robert LeRoy
  • Born Country: United States
  • African American Men
  • African American Baseball Players
  • Died on: June 8, 1982
  • Place of Death: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
  • U.S. State: Alabama
  • Cause of Death: Heart Attack
  • City: Mobile, Alabama

Childhood & Early Life

Leroy Robert Page, who later became Leroy Robert Satchel Paige, was born on July 7, 1906, in Mobile, Alabama. He was the seventh of twelve children born to John Page and Lula Coleman Page. The family lived in poverty, and Satchel mentioned in his biography, ‘Maybe I’ll Pitch Forever,’ that they played in the dirt because they didn’t have toys. To support his family, Satchel did odd jobs like selling empty bottles and working as a porter at the railway station.

Career

Satchel Paige’s pitching skills were developed while he was in the Industrial School for Juvenile Negro Lawbreakers. He came out of the school in 1923 and started his career as a pitcher for the Mobile Tigers in 1924. He played for various teams in the Negro League, including the Kansas City Monarchs and the Birmingham Black Barons. Despite racial discrimination, his pitching skills earned him a number of white American fans.

In 1948, Satchel Paige made his debut in the major leagues when he signed with the Cleveland Indians. At the age of 42, he became the oldest rookie to debut in the American League. He helped the Cleveland Indians win the World Series in 1948 and played for the St. Louis Browns for the next three years. He played his last game in organized baseball in 1966.

Awards & Achievements

In 1948, Satchel Paige made a record as the oldest rookie to play in the World Series. He was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Team for the American League in 1952 and 1953. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, becoming the first African-American to achieve this honor.

Personal Life & Legacy

Satchel Paige married three times. He married his long-time sweetheart, Janet Howard, in 1934. He later married Lucy “Luz” Maria Figueroa in 1940 and Lahoma Brown around 1947. He had seven children. Satchel Paige passed away due to a heart attack in Kansas City, Missouri, at the age of 76. He is buried in Forest Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City. In his memory, an elementary school in Kansas is named “Satchel Paige Elementary School,” and a statue of him was unveiled in Cooper Park, Cooperstown, New York.

Trivia

In 1999, Satchel Paige was posthumously nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

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