Satchel Paige Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: July 7, 1906 in Mobile, Alabama
Died: June 8, 1982 in Kansas City, Missouri
Biography | show moreshow less
Full name Leroy Robert Paige
Born July 7, 1906, Mobile, Alabama
Died June 8, 1982, Kansas City, Missouri
Buried at Forest Hill Cemetery, Kansas City, Missouri (Paige Island (Between Sections 51 & 38))
First Game: July 9, 1948; Final Game: September 25, 1965
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 6' 3.5" Weight: 180

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1971

This article was written by Larry Tye and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
Satchel Paige threw his first pitch in professional baseball in 1926 for the Chattanooga White Sox, an inappropriately-named team in the lower levels of the segregated Negro Leagues. He played his last game in organized baseball in 1966 – a full 40 years later – for a Virginia club called the Peninsula Pilots. In between, the Hall of Famer pitched more baseballs, in more ballparks, for more teams, than any player in history. It also is safe to say that no pitcher ever threw at a higher level, for longer, than the ageless right-hander with the whimsical nickname.

Satchel entered the world as Leroy Robert Page. He was delivered at home into the hands of a midwife, which was more help than most poor women could afford in 1906 in Mobile, Alabama. His mother, Lula, was a washerwoman who already spent her nights worrying how to feed and sustain the four daughters and two sons who had come before. Five more would follow. Leroy's father, John, alternated between the luxuriant lilies in the gardens he tended uptown and the corner stoops on which he liked to loiter, rarely making time to care for his expanding brood. With skin the shade of chestnut and a birthplace in the heartland of the former Confederacy, the newborn's prospects looked woeful. They were about to get worse.

For more than 200 years Mobile had welcomed outsiders – Irish Catholics fleeing the famine, Jewish merchants, along with legions of Creoles, the free offspring of French or Spanish fathers and chattel mothers – and they in turn challenged inbred thinking on everything from politics to race. The result, during the post-Civil War period of Reconstruction, was a blurring of color lines in ways unthinkable in Montgomery, Selma, and most of the rest of Alabama. Unfortunately for young Leroy, that live-and-let-live mindset had begun fraying by the turn of the century and it unraveled entirely the very season of his birth, when a local ordinance mandated separate seating on streetcars. Blacks were barred from most restaurants, cemeteries, saloons, hotels, and brothels. Whites and blacks were not allowed to attend the same school, marry one another, or play baseball on the same fields of green. Leroy Page was too young to understand those developments but they were reinforced every day he spent in his native city. Those first few years, "I was no different from any other kid," he wrote half a century on, "only in Mobile I was a nigger kid. I went around with the back of my shirt torn, a pair of dirty diapers or raggedy pieces of trousers covering me. Shoes? They was someplace else."

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