posted at 7/4/2011 8:49 PM EDT
In Response to Satchel
[QUOTE]On our country's day of independence, I thought it might be prudent to look beyond the noise of cherry bombs for a moment. Dice went down with TJ surgery, and there were comments about Japanese. Cam was DFA'd and there were accusations of bigotry if Mac followed shortly after. Much of this was shot down by several board members. But the accusations were echoes of a time when it was very real. Players were segregated - a reflection of the times. The greatest - the saddest - exclusion was Satchel Paige, perhaps the greatest pitcher ever. "The pitcher with the greatest stuff I ever saw" Dizzy Dean. DiMaggio said he was the best pitcher he ever faced. Paige'sapedespitching in the Negro leagues and barnstorming with Dizzy Dean and Bob Feller are legendary. Some say he won 1500 - 2000 games. 300 shutouts. 40 no-hitters. The level of competition faced will always be debated. Think WBC. When Robinson finally broke the color barrier, Paige joined the Indians in 1948, at mid-season. In his first three starts, over 200,000 people went to see him. At one point, he was 5-1 with a 1.33 ERA. He ended up 6-1, 2.48 ERA. Keep in mind, he wasn't throwing nearly as hard as he once did. He had allegedly a torn rotary cuff in 1939, and therapy did not include surgery. There was talk of rookie-of-the-year honors. Paige was 42 years old. The Indians went on to win the world series...their last. Here's a look at him in the 1948 WS (42 second mark). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKNV-GxeAio+feature=related
He came on in relief of Feller. Spahn pitched for the Braves. In 1951, he was a reliever for the St. Louis Browns. He'd arrive at the park around the 5th inning and sneak drinks into the bullpen. His coach supplied him with a plush rocking chair to relax. Stengal once remarked: "If the Yanks don't get ahead in the first 6 innings, the Browns bring in that damned old man and then we're sunk". Source: http://agilewriter.com/Biography/SatfchelPaige.htm
In 1952, Roger Hornsby (an alleged former member of the KKK) became manager of the ST., Louis Browns and kept Paige buried as did Zimmer with Lee (who did his own barnstorming after he said collusion kept him out of the ML's. Bill Lee pitched for years in several different countries - as told in his book HAVE GLOVE, WILL TRAVEL). Owner Bill Veck fired Hornsby,and soon Paige flourished yet again, at age 46. He was named to the AS team. He ended up 12-10 after being on Hornsby's shelf, with a 3.07 ERA used in all capacities. His team lost 90 games that year. Ted Williams called him the greatest pitcher he ever faced. Hack Wilson: " It starts out like a baseball. When it gets to the plate, it looks like a marble". Source: http://www.the baseballpage.com/players/paigesa01
Until Paige hurt his arm, he only threw a fastball. One pitch. Fast and faster, at varied angles, with multiple wind-ups. It wasn't until Paige was 50 years old , and out of M.L. baseball, that he began throwing off-speed stuff. Veck bought into a AAA affiliate (Miami Marlins of the International League and got his reluctant manager to play Paige. The results: 1956: 11-4 1.86 ERA 1957: 10-8 2.42 ERA 11 walks 1958: 10-10 2.95 ERA 15 walks - at age 52! Paige got a % of the gate...and a $15,000 salary. After the 1957 season, Paige went to Mexico to appear in the movie THE WONDERFUL COUNTRY (ironic title, isn't it.) with Robert Mitchum. (Satch played the character Sgt. Tobe Sutton, and made 10 grand. He called the flic "the pride of his life"). Source: http://en.wikippedia.org/wiki/Satchel_Paige
In 1961, he pitched briefly for Portland (AAA) and had a 2.88 ERA, 18 SO's thru 25 IP. In 1965, Finley signed Paige at age 59 to pitch in one game - against the Boston RedSox. Paige was in his rocker in the pen between innings, being served "coffee"by his "nurse". H threw three shutout innings against the likes of Gosger and Conigliaro. Only one player got a hit: Carl Yastrzemski. Paige was inducted into the HOF in 1971. It's sad that M.L.baseball never got to see him in his prime years. Think about this when you enjoy your local fireworks display tonight.
Posted by harness[/QUOTE]
In the Negro Leagues, I heard he used to do stuff like have all the fielders leave the field and go into the dugout while he struck out the final batter to finish a game.
It was everybody's loss to have missed out on his best years, except for the opposing hitters and teams.