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
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 722⁄3 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
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