Today in Black History: Leroy “Satchel” Paige

Jennifer Corriolan , Staff Writer

Leroy “Satchel” Paige was a famous Negro League and Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. He was a legend of his lifetime. During his prime (1926-1965) he was the oldest rookie playing for the Cleveland Indians at age 42, attracting large crowds wherever he pitched.

The nickname Satchel came from his job when he was younger. His mother made him get a job carrying luggage for businessmen and he grew tired of carrying bags one by one. One day he put all of the luggage on one pole and someone said he looked like a satchel tree, creating the nickname “Satchel.”

He started in the Negro League in 1926 because he would not be accepted into the MLB due to his skin color. When the Cleveland Indians hired him 22 years later, he was the eldest rookie. He continued to play through 1965.

“You usually only hear about Jackie Robinson,” said senior Ben Maxwell. “But there are more people like Satchel Paige who made strides in baseball.”

He finished his big league career with a record of 21-31 32 saves and a 3.29 earned run average. From the statistics that were recorded, he had 31 wins and four losses in 1933, 64 back to back scoreless innings and 21 consecutive wins. He had about 250 shutouts by his own account.

These stats were not common, not even in the MLB, and that’s what got him MLB recognition. Many of his successes include being the first African American to pitch in the World Series, and being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.