All-Time Indians: Satchel Paige

Name: Leroy Robert Paige     Position: Relief Pitcher    
Nick Name: Satchel           Number: 29          
Tribe Time: 1948-1949           DOB: 07/07/1906          
Accolades: Hall of Fame (1971)          
Stats W L W% ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1948) 6 1 0.857 2.49 21 7 3 2 1 72.2 61 21 20 2 22 43 1.15 5.4 .220
Career 10 8 0.556 2.78 52 12 4 2 6 155.2 131 50 48 6 55 97 1.20 5.6 .220

Satchel Paige was one of the greatest players in Negro League Baseball history, playing from 1927 through 1947 for many different NLB teams, most notably the Kansas City Monarchs for the last eight years. During that lengthy career, he went 100-50 with 1,170 strike outs and an ERA of 3.22. For his efforts, he was made the first ever NLB player to be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1971.

In 1948, the Indians, already notable for signing the first black player in American League history the season before, took a chance on the 18 year veteran. He immediately became Major League Baseball's oldest rookie in history at the probable, but not certain, age of 41. With the big three (Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and Gene Bearden) anchoring the rotation, Paige was entered into the bullpen, where he made 14 appearances and got his first Major League save. He also made seven spot starts throughout the year and finished with six wins and an amazing ERA of 2.49, especially considering he was well past his prime and in his first year playing against the "best" baseball players in the world.

He was lucky enough to win the World Series in his first MLB season, although he only face two batters which he retired in order. After this amazing success, the Indians kept him around for the following season, when he was used as part time starter and part time closer, pitching in 31 games, earning four wins and five saves.

After spending 1950 away from baseball, Paige came back with the St. Louis Browns for three seasons as the team's closer. He then took a few years away from baseball before coming back at age 49 to play for the Phillies in AAA. Playing off and on, he continued until finally, in 1965 (38 years after his career began) he made it back to the big leagues for one last time. Paige pitched just three innings in one game for the Kansas City Athletics, but only allowed one hit, ending his career in the same city that made him famous. At 58 years old, this made him, by far, the oldest player ever to play a game in Major League Baseball.

Noting the importance of the event, if not his statistical contribution, the Cleveland Indians entered Paige into the Indians Hall of Fame in 1965, six years before he was recognized for his much bigger impact of his Negro League career. Despite being healthy enough to play baseball until he was almost 60, he didn't live very long afterward, dying in 1982 at the age of 75.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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