The Day by Day History of the
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige Was Born
July 7, 1906
How old is "too old" to play professional
baseball? At the age of fifty-nine, Satchel Paige became the
oldest player in the major leagues. He may also have been the
best pitcher in baseball ever.
Leroy Robert "Satchel"
Paige was born on July 7, 1906. He earned his nickname, Satchel,
when he was a young boy carrying bags (and satchels) at railroad
stations for passengers. Initially barred from the major leagues
because he was African American, Paige played in what was
referred to as "the Negro Leagues." Paige's pitching took the
Kansas City Monarchs to five Negro American League pennants. He
also showcased his skills by barnstorming across the country.
What is barnstorming?
In barnstorming, a player
traveled across the country and pitched for any team willing to
meet his price. (Teams also barnstormed around the U.S. and
played against local teams.) Paige sometimes traveled as many as
30,000 miles a year and in one streak pitched twenty-nine days
in a row! He played in exhibition games against the best players
of the day, black or white. Huge crowds came to watch him.
"I liked playing against Negro League teams," Paige was
quoted as saying, "but I loved barnstorming. It gave us a chance
to play everybody and go everywhere . . ."
got his chance to play in the major leagues as a Cleveland
Indian in 1948. That was one year after Jackie Robinson broke
the color barrier in major league baseball and went to play for
the Brooklyn Dodgers.