In many respects Satchel Paige was to Negro League baseball what Babe Ruth was to the majors -- a rare combination of talent and personality that captured the imagination of fans across America. Paige's unique brand of showmanship combined with his remarkable skills on the mound to fill ballparks everywhere and keep the fans coming through the turnstiles through even the darkest days of the Great Depression. So great was the drawing power of Satchel Paige that he was often "loaned" to struggling teams who needed a quick boost in attendance to stay afloat.
The widely traveled Paige began his career with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts in the Negro Southern League in 1926. After passing through Birmingham and Nashville, 1932 found him on the roster of the Pittsburgh Crawfords. His legendary performances with the Crawfords, which often included gawdy 30+ win seasons, established him firmly as black baseball's premier pitcher. Simultaneously, his folksy humor and ability to "spin a yarn" made him the darling of black sportswriters, establishing him as black baseball's premier personality.
Though records are incomplete, Paige is often credited with having recorded more than 300 career shutouts -- not wins, shutouts! His career win total is estimated at well over 1500 games, a figure which includes virtually countless appearances in exhibition games against all levels of competition both in the United States and south of the border.
in 1939 Paige began a nine-year stint with the Kansas City Monarchs. In this era of his long career he led the Monarchs to four consecutive Negro American League pennants and a Negro World Series championship in 1942. During 1940s Paige also managed to bring himself to the attention of white baseball fans all across America with his legendary exhibition tours pitting Negro League All-Stars against major league competition such as the Bob Feller All-Stars.
At the age of 42 Paige become the oldest rookie in major league history when he joined the Cleveland Indians during the 1948 pennant race. Joining the team late in the year Satchel posted a 6-1 record to help the Indians clinch the American League title and proceed to the World Series. As the "Nifty 50s" came around, Satchel was again in the major leagues with the St. Louis Browns. In 1952-53 he represented the Browns in the major league All-Star game.
In 1971 Satchel Paige became the first Negro League star honored by induction into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame.