On today's date, February 9th, in 1971, Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the first Negro League baseball player to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame! In 1971 Paige became, a pitching legend who was known for his fastball, and showmanship. He was also known for the longevity of his playing career, that spanned five decades when he was inducted into the hall of fame.

Paige earned his nickname, Satchel, as a boy because he used to earn money carrying passengers’ bags at the local train station. Baseball was a segregated sport when Paige started playing baseball in the 1920s. He spent the majority of his career pitching for Negro League teams. During the winter he pitched for teams in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. He pitched an estimated 2,500 games. He also had 300 shut-outs, and 55 no-hitters. 

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and became the first African American to play in the Major Leagues. The following year Paige also entered the MLB when he signed with the Cleveland Indians, and became baseball’s oldest rookie at the age of 42. He helped the Indians win the pennant that year and later played for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A’s.

Paige retired from the majors in 1953, but returned in 1965 to pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s. He was 59 at the time, making him the oldest person ever to play in the Major Leagues. 

He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Published by Robert Stone