Bits and Pieces Tribute to Satchel Paige Weekend Edition

Last week someone broke into the Negro League Museum in Kansas City, cut a water pipe and turned on the water flooding the building. Last May the former Kansas City home of Satchel Paige was burned to the ground. Investigators believe a fire accelerant was used. I hope that this response is the exact opposite of what the arsonists and vandals were hoping for.

Satchel Paige was born July 7, 1906. September 25, 1965 he pitched 3 scoreless innings against a Red Sox lineup which included Carl Yastrzemski, Rico Petrocilli, and Tony Conigliaro . I wasn’t able to check but I’m pretty sure the twenty year old Conigliaro wasn’t gotten out by any other 59 year old pitcher that year.

If you listen closely you’ll also hear a status update for a certain upper Midwest team

 

Cubs 10 Twins 6 | Angels 7 Orioles 1 | Yankees 8 Red Sox 1

When He Was Young

He began his professional baseball career in 1926 with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts

For the first 13 years of his professional career he was the best pure power pitcher ever. As his physical skills declined with age and injury he became the best pitching artist ever, adding to his repertoire a change up, a screwball, a knuckleball, his “eephus” pitch, his “hesitation” pitch.

Until he suffered an arm injury before the 1939 season except for a very occasional curve ball he threw nuttin but fast balls. It was a Mariano Rivera type fastball, always perfectly located and doing something different depending on its location. Difference is that Rivera did that for an inning or so 3 or 4 times a week, Satchel did that for 7-8-9 innings, also 3 or 4 times a week. Dizzy Dean who saw him in the mid 30’s – towards the tail end of that run said Paige’s fastball made his look like a changeup. Joe DiMaggio who faced him mostly after 1939 said that he was the hardest thrower he ever faced.

I understand that the failure of the Negro League to keep reliable statistics hampers any effort to evaluate the career achievements of Negro League players. I understand that the MLB players who participated in post season barnstorming games with teams from the Negro League were cobbled together from multiple teams and therefore perhaps not playing together as well as they might have. I understand that they were not playing for championships but for money. But I expect that all this did not much slow down those very prideful players. I betcha they were trying their best.

Here’s the one stat we do know about the games played:

Negro League 102 / “MLB” 82

Was Babe Ruth a poor man’s Josh Gibson? Was Ty Cobb a poor man’s Cool Papa Bell? Was Walter Johnson a poor man’s Satchel Paige?

Before you read on I want you to put a pillow on the floor in front of you because your jaw is about to land on it.

300 hundred win club? Satchel Paige pitched between 250 and 300 SHUTOUTS.

Cy Young won 511 games. Satchel Paige won between 1,500 and 2,00 games.

From the early part to the middle of the 20th century the most talented and accomplished baseball league in the world was comprised of human beings who were ostracized from the majority culture because of their relatively darker skin color. Satchel Paige was its finest pitcher.

Nationals 17 Phillies 7 | Blue Jays 3 Tigers 2 | Brewers 8 Reds 2

When He Was Forty

In 1946 Bob Feller assembled a barnstorming team consisting of Mickey Vernon, at first base, Johnny Beradino at second, Phil Rizzuto at shortstop, and Ken Keltner at third. The outfielders were Jeff Heath, Charlie Keller, and Sam Chapman; after the World Series was over, National League batting champion Stan Musial would also join the tour. Catching was shared by Jim Hegan and Frankie Hayes. In addition to Feller, the pitching staff included Bob Lemon, Dutch Leonard, Johnny Sain, Spud Chandler, and Fred Hutchinson. This team was to compete against a team compiled by Satchel Paige with Rapid Robert and Satchel Paige being frequently the fan drawing pitchers.

Against Feller’s team Paige pitched 42 innings and allowed 18 runs, or 3.86 per nine innings

 Marlins 8 Mets 2 | Rays 3 Astros 2 | Rangers 11 White Sox 3

When he was 42 – 47 (the “MLB” years)

1948 was the year when the relatively lighter skinned people first dared to allow the very finest pitcher of the relatively darker skinned people to compete against their lads. At age 42 he was the oldest “rookie” in the history of “MLB”.

Paige ended the 1948 season, during which he was the first relatively darker skinned human being to pitch in the World Series, with a 6–1 record with a 2.48 ERA, 2 shutouts, 43 strikeouts, 22 walks and 61 base hits allowed in 72​23 innings. There was some discussion of Paige possibly winning the Rookie of the Year Award.

In 1952 Paige finished the year 12–10 with a 3.07 ERA for a team that lost ninety games.

In 1952 and 1953 he represented the St Louis Browns in the all star game.

During this period, he tried out his “Hesitation Pitch” on a “MLB” hitter who threw his bat in surprise 40 feet up the third base line. The pitch was later ruled by the relatively lighter skinned folks to be a balk, of course.

Braves 5 Cardinals 1 | Giants 2 Diamondbacks 1 | Athletics 3 Indians 1

Evil is best countered by a celebration of the good

What exactly is evil? Is it shot up from hell by some cartoon character with a tail and horns sticking out of his head? I don’t think so. I think it is from the fear in our hearts when we don’t know what the fuck is going on and we do shit like replacing slavery with Jim Crow.

What exactly is good? Is it some angel pixie dust dispersed from heaven. I don’t think so. God ain’t letting us off that easy. Let’s keep trying to figure it out.

Mariners 4 Royals 1 | Rockies 3 Dodgers 1 | Pirates 6 Padres 3

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27 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces Tribute to Satchel Paige Weekend Edition

    • The hall of fame plaque was perfect for this, thanks. Maybe some time you could give me a tutorial on how and where you get images for here.

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  1. Relatedly, The Athletic ran a good piece on the Chris Bosio firing. Thankfully, the days are gone when jerks could call black coworkers insulting things and get away with it. Bosio apparently thought the other white folks there would take his side. We are making some progress.

    I’d like to figure out something to do to support the Negro Leagues Museum project besides a sad little donation from me. Ideas for something more? Coordinated bake sales or car washes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No donation like that is a “sad little donation”. It’s not just the money it’s a statement. Could you provide a link or some other kind of info so that the rest of us can join you as best we are able in making not just a donation but a statement.

      Instead of bake sales maybe more can be done by distributing such a link or info to places such as HBT and all the other baseball blogs that we individually frequent. I’ll post it in twinkietown. You can post it in ‘tigertown’ and maybe paper can post it in ‘cardinaltown’. And we still got angelstown, astrostown, natstown, feeshtown, fiightinOstown, bravestown among all the others I am forgetting to mention because it’s Saturday and my repast began an hour ago.

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  2. Satchel was probably the best, and I’m a big Walter Johnson fan. (A Big Train Johnson fan in fact.) We should not forget about the legendary and legendarily unappreciated John Donaldson too. And isn’t it just interesting that two of the g-o-a-t s were both nicknamed “Satch?” (including Satch’Mo Armstrong).

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  3. Cripes, I just have to give gripes about one of the games last night. As the Ohtani-less Angels continue their slide into the not-so-heavenly realms of the standings, it’s perhaps time to shed the spotlight once again upon Mike Scioscia’s managerial strategics or lack thereof. Foooooorrrrr instance, last night he penciled gold-glove RF’er Kole Calhoun into the leadoff slot. Kole has been struggling with the bat this season—all of it—so how about this one for the record books: a leadoff batter with a .166 average and a .450 OPS? Geez Mike, couldn’t you get one of the groundskeepers to leadoff instead? Oh but the Angels won, despite their leadoff batter going 0-for-4, so maybe we’ll see more of this brilliant new strategy in the near future. Or not, knowing Sciosh. Again, cripes.

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    • If misery enjoys company slide over. The Twins lost two of three to the White Sox and by losing to the Cubs Friday they kept pace with all the other AL Central teams who also all lost, And they lost today to the Cubbies in a miserable heat stroke plagued game – giving my annoying Chicago in laws new ammunition for our Pickett’s charge family get together.

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    • Sadly, scioscia is a product of the Tommy Lasorda school of management. Mike’s belief is he can somehow inspire a man into outperforming. Actual study, or should I say awareness of statistical likelihood is for lesser men. Mikes favorite comic book character is The Thing, ‘cuz everybody is an egghead compared to Mike. Somehow he got ownership to spend lots (or rather all) the money on two aging sluggers, one who it seems is aging faster than normal or was already old before he got here. The other had a relapse in his addiction recovery and the owner gave him away for lying. WTF?

      The name of the famous Cub (let’s play two!) who never played a postseason game escapes me. But I wonder when I’m depressed if we should just trade Trout to the Yanks so he can play in some meaningful games while he’s still at his best.

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  4. Thanks HTF! You continue to put a nice finish to the site’s week.

    It’s surprising to me how strong just plain old racism is. President Tramp would claim the separation of families at the southern border is not an indication of racism. I wonder if such stupidity would be accepted if we were talking about the northern border.

    The sad truth is racism, sexism, and a hundred other unfarenesses are still strong in our nation. I don’t know how to stop it but your post today is a good move in the right direction. Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. HTF, that was nicely turned. Among the other less well known social foibles, you remind us, if even just incipiently, that not only women lie about their age.

    Well, I’m home again. It’s a little jarring to embark from Fumincino, one of the world’s most efficiently run airports, with its endless galleries of high-end (ie Prada, Versace, Gucci) “duty free” shops…er, pardon me, shoppes, that would make the duty free area at Heathrow Terminal 3 look like a Dartmoor village high street, and then disembark in the bumpkin redoubt of MIA with its usually broken moving walkways and escalators and paltry selections of Burger Kings and Taco Bells. Ah well, at least there’s “Global Entry” to anesthetize the passport control routine.

    So I get home and two green (“They’re. Not. Ripe!”) Feesh rookies, Alcantara and Lopez, beat the Mutts solidly while the Nyorcas put up all the resistance of a sheet of cellophane to a pocket knife. Would you believe that Team Wilpoon is now tied with the Feesh for last place, though ahead of them by a couple of percentage points? #LOLMutts indeed. If I’m a Mutts fan, I don’t wear the colors, the cap, or even show my face. What a farce.

    Come to think of it, where are the Mutts fans? Have we ever ackcherley even had one here? Or are they trapped in some dimension beyond time where the ball is now and forever dribbling between Bill Buckner’s legs?

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    • Poor Buckner! He performed well for the Dodgers (and my sister called him ‘cute’) when I was young and the Dodgers were my team. But his place in history is marked by that play. Never a fan of the Sawx, even I had to turn away, muttering, “oh, Billy how could you!”

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    • For me the most interesting evidence for how incredible he must have been is his success through his forties in a league which included a peak Joe DiMaggio and a peak Ted Williams because it is incontrovertible. I think he enjoyed the ambiguity surronding his age as much as he did because he was rightly proud of it and that the older people thought he was the better.

      BTW the date of birth cited here was based on the discovery of his dated birth certificate in the public records of the county he was born in giving us I think a high degree of confidence of his age during the “MLB” years.

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    • I second that. I’m concerned how much less incoherent he has become recently, though. It redoubles the burden upon my prose style just as I was becoming able to relax.

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