Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio by Robert SkeadIn 1936, the New York Yankees wanted to test a hot prospect named Joe DiMaggio to see if he was ready for the big leagues. They knew just the ballplayer to call--Satchel Paige, the best pitcher anywhere, black or white. For the game, Paige joined a group of amateur African-American players, and they faced off against a team of white major leaguers plus young DiMaggio. Illustrations.
Long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier of "organized baseball, " Satchel Paige was a name well known to the general sports public. As an outstanding performer in "Negro baseball, " Paige had become a legendary figure whose encounters with major league players added considerable laurels to his athletic reputation. Legend and folklore surround the career of pitcher Satchel Paige. Only a single indisputable fact emerges: Paige was one of the very best baseball players to take the mound in the twentieth century. The cruel irony of his life is that his best years were spent not in major league baseball as we know it today, but rather in the Negro Leagues and in numerous exhibition games.
1. Paige learned how to pitch in reform school.
Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige was born circa July 7, , in Mobile, Alabama, and honed his pitching talents in reform school. Denied entry to the Major Leagues, he began his professional baseball career in the Negro Leagues in and became its most famous showman. Paige finally broke through to the Majors as a year-old rookie, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in He died on June 8, He was the seventh of 12 children born to father John, a gardener, and mother Lula, a washerwoman.
He is rated as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. Paige, who received his distinctive nickname as a young railroad porter, honed his baseball skills while in reform school. He entered the Negro leagues playing for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts in Wearing a false red beard, he also played for the House of David team a team fielded by a communal Christian religious sect that forbade its male members to shave or cut their hair. As a barnstormer, he would travel as many as 30, miles 48, km a year while pitching for any team willing to meet his price. He is reputed to have pitched a total of 2, games during his nearly year career, winning 2, of them. Paige was a colourful and larger-than-life figure in the Negro leagues, prone to stunts such as sending the infield players into the dugout while he pitched or deliberately loading the bases before pitching to Josh Gibson , a hitter of great renown.