118 Facts About Satchel Paige


Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige was an American professional baseball pitcher who played in Negro league baseball and Major League Baseball.

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Satchel Paige's career spanned five decades and culminated with his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Right-handed pitcher, Paige first played for the semi-professional Mobile Tigers from 1924 to 1926.

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Satchel Paige began his professional baseball career in 1926 with the Chattanooga Black Lookouts of the Negro Southern League and became one of the most famous and successful players from the Negro leagues.

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At age 42 in 1948, Satchel Paige made his debut for the Cleveland Indians; to this day, this makes him the oldest debutant in the National League or American League history.

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Additionally, Satchel Paige was 59 years old when he played his last major league game, which is a record that stands to this day.

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Satchel Paige was the first black pitcher to play in the American League and was the seventh black player to play in Major League Baseball.

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Also in 1948, Satchel Paige became the first player who had played in the Negro leagues to pitch in the World Series; the Indians won the Series that year.

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Satchel Paige played with the St Louis Browns from 1951 to 1953, representing the team in the All-Star Game in 1952 and 1953.

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Satchel Paige played his last professional game on June 21,1966, for the Peninsula Grays of the Carolina League, two weeks shy of 60.

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In 1971, Satchel Paige became the first electee of the Negro League Committee to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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In 1959, Satchel Paige's mother told a reporter that he was 55 rather than 53, saying she knew this because she wrote it down in her Bible.

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Satchel Paige was born Leroy Robert Page to John Page, a gardener, and Lula Page, a domestic worker, in a section of Mobile, Alabama, known as Down the Bay.

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Satchel Paige said he was not making enough money at a dime a bag, so he used a pole and rope to build a contraption that allowed him to cart up to four bags at once.

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At the age of 10, Satchel Paige was playing "top ball", which was what got him into baseball.

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On July 24,1918, just seventeen days after his 12th birthday, Satchel Paige was sentenced to six years—or until his 18th birthday, whichever came first—at the Alabama Reform School for Juvenile Negro Law-Breakers in Mount Meigs, Alabama, owing to his truancy in school along with his tendency to grab things that did not belong to him.

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Satchel Paige was released from the institution in December 1923, seven months short of his 18th birthday.

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Satchel Paige joined the semi-pro Mobile Tigers, for which his brother Wilson was already pitching.

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In 1926 he discovered Satchel Paige and offered to pay him $250 per month, of which Satchel Paige would collect $50 with the rest going to his mother.

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Satchel Paige agreed to pay Lula Paige a $200 advance, and she agreed to the contract.

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Partway through the 1927 season, Satchel Paige's contract was sold to the Birmingham Black Barons of the major Negro National League.

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Murray then charged the mound and Satchel Paige raced for the dugout, but Murray flung his bat and struck Satchel Paige above the hip.

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Satchel Paige left Cuba abruptly before the end of the season, with several stories told about the circumstances.

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When Satchel Paige returned to the United States, he and Jackson revived their practice of renting him out to various teams.

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Satchel Paige, as a Southerner, found that he was an outsider on the Black Sox, and his teammates considered him a hick.

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Satchel Paige won one and lost one in the series and then returned to Birmingham.

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Satchel Paige helped Bismarck beat their local rivals in Jamestown, who were featuring a Negro league ace pitcher, Barney Brown.

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Satchel Paige was snubbed by other Negro league players and fans when he was not selected for the first ever East–West All-Star Game.

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Satchel Paige struck out 17, and only a first-inning walk to future Hall of Famer Buck Leonard and an error in the fourth inning prevented it from being a perfect game.

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Satchel Paige pitched shutouts in his first two starts, striking out 14 and 18.

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Satchel Paige received his first East–West All Star Game selection in 1934.

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The East scored one run in the top of the eighth and Satchel Paige held the West scoreless the rest of the way, giving him his first All-Star Game victory.

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Satchel Paige recalled driving all night from Pittsburgh and parking near the stadium, then falling asleep in the car.

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Fall, Satchel Paige faced off against major league star Dizzy Dean, who that season had won 30 regular season games plus two more in the World Series, in several exhibition games.

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Later, while playing in the California Winter League, Satchel Paige faced Dean in front of 18,000 fans in Los Angeles, with Dean's team including major league stars like Wally Berger.

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Satchel Paige won the four games he started, pitched in relief in a fifth game, and struck out 60 batters—a record that still held 74 years later.

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DiMaggio then hit a hard hopper to the mound that Satchel Paige deflected; DiMaggio beat the second baseman's throw to drive in the winning run.

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In 1936, Satchel Paige returned to Pittsburgh where Greenlee acquiesced to Satchel Paige's salary demands and gave him a $600-per-month contract, by far the highest in the Negro leagues.

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One match-up featured Satchel Paige facing the 17-year-old Bob Feller, who had just finished a half-season with the Cleveland Indians.

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Aybar hired Satchel Paige to act as an agent for Trujillo in recruiting other Negro league players to play for Los Dragones.

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Satchel Paige recruited five of his Crawfords teammates—Cool Papa Bell, Leroy Matlock, Sam Bankhead, Harry Williams and Herman Andrews—as well as Josh Gibson, who had recently been traded to the Homestead Grays.

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Satchel Paige proceeded to give up three runs on three hits before he got the third out on a great throw by Bankhead.

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Satchel Paige looked for work as a manager or coach, but was unsuccessful.

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Satchel Paige's recovery was assisted by the Monarch's long-time trainer, Frank "Jewbaby" Floyd, who was sent by Wilkinson to work with Satchel Paige.

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Satchel Paige had Paige rest his arm by pitching fewer innings and playing other positions.

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Satchel Paige helped his team win the league championship playoff series, winning two games against the San Juan Senadores.

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Satchel Paige took over the role of ace pitcher for the Monarchs, while Hilton Smith, their former ace, dropped to number two pitcher and sometimes was relegated to relieving Satchel Paige.

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Satchel Paige started game one in Washington and pitched five shutout innings.

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When Satchel Paige told the story in his autobiography, he mythologized the story.

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Satchel Paige gave up two runs in the first and was pulled after two innings.

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Day and Satchel Paige both pitched complete games, with Satchel Paige giving up four runs on eight hits and Day giving up one run on five hits for a Grays victory.

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Game four took place in Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and Satchel Paige was scheduled to start, but he did not show up until the fourth inning.

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Satchel Paige had pitched in all four official games in the Series, going 16 innings, striking out 18, and giving up eight hits and six runs.

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Satchel Paige was the West's starting pitcher in the 1943 East-West All-Star Game, played before a record 51,723 fans in Comiskey Park.

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Satchel Paige was the fourth and final pitcher to achieve the pitching Triple Crown in leading a league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts.

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Satchel Paige won six games while striking out 85 batters with a 0.

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Satchel Paige was removed from the roster and the strike was averted when the owners agreed to raise the player payments.

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Satchel Paige struck out Monte Irvin and Lenny Pearson, but Doby stole second and Satchel Paige gave up a single to Johnny Davis, which tied the game.

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Satchel Paige shut down the Eagles for the rest of the game, striking out eight and allowing four hits over four innings, and was credited with the win.

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Two days later, Satchel Paige came into the second game in a similar situation as the first, but the result was quite different.

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Satchel Paige gave up three runs on three hits in the sixth, including a home run to Irvin.

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Buck O'Neil believed Satchel Paige was meeting with Bob Feller about their upcoming barnstorming tour.

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Wilkinson and Tom Baird, Satchel Paige assembled a team that included first baseman Buck O'Neil, second baseman Hank Thompson, shortstops Chico Renfroe and Artie Wilson, third basemen Howard Easterling and Herb Souell, outfielders Gene Benson and Johnny Davis, catcher Quincy Trouppe, and pitchers Barney Brown, Joseph Jessup, Rufus Lewis, Hilton Smith, and Neck Stanley.

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Feller and Satchel Paige would start each game whenever possible and usually pitch one to five innings.

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Satchel Paige's team broke the tie in the seventh inning when Hank Thompson walked and stole second and Souell drove him home with a single up the middle.

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Satchel Paige pitched five shutout innings in Yankee Stadium before a crowd of 27,462.

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Satchel Paige continued on to California where he joined a lesser team, Chet Brewer's Kansas City Royals, which was scheduled to play Feller's All-Stars.

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Satchel Paige faced Feller in Los Angeles and in San Diego and lost both games.

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Satchel Paige did face Feller twice while playing with Chet Brewer's Kansas City Royals in Los Angeles.

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Feller gave up four hits and one walk and struck out two, while Satchel Paige gave up just two hits and one walk and struck out seven.

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Nevertheless, Satchel Paige took the loss when he gave up a run in the fourth when Keltner singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Heath.

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Satchel Paige allowed three hits and no walks, and struck out eight, including Ralph Kiner twice.

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On that same day, his 42nd birthday, Satchel Paige signed his first major league contract, for $40,000 for the three months remaining in the season, becoming the first black pitcher in the American League and the seventh black big leaguer overall.

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On July 9,1948, Satchel Paige became the oldest man ever to debut in the National League or American League, at the age of 42 years and two days.

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Satchel Paige, not knowing the signs and not wanting to confuse his catcher, pitched cautiously.

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Satchel Paige threw an overhand pitch for a strike and one sidearm for another strike.

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Satchel Paige then threw his "Hesitation Pitch", which surprised Platt so much that he threw his bat 40 feet up the third base line.

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The next inning, he gave up a leadoff single, but with his catcher having simplified his signals, Satchel Paige got the next batter to hit into a double play, followed by a pop fly.

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Satchel Paige got his first big league victory on July 15,1948, the night after he pitched in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in front of 65,000 people in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium.

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Satchel Paige got Eddie Joost to fly out to end the inning, but gave up two runs the next inning when Ferris Fain doubled and Hank Majeski hit a home run.

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Satchel Paige went the distance, giving up two singles and one double for his second consecutive three hit shutout.

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Satchel Paige pitched for two-thirds of an inning in Game Five while the Indians were trailing the Boston Braves.

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Satchel Paige gave up a sacrifice fly to Warren Spahn, got called for a balk, and got Tommy Holmes to ground out to shortstop Lou Boudreau.

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Penniless, Satchel Paige returned to his barnstorming days after being released from the Indians.

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Satchel Paige was so effective that when Hornsby was fired by Veeck, his successor Marty Marion seemed not to want to risk going more than three games without using Satchel Paige in some form.

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Satchel Paige was released after the season when Veeck sold the Browns.

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In 1959, Satchel Paige returned to his barnstorm roots and signed a pitching contract with the Havana Cuban Stars who were owned by Dempsey Hovland.

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Satchel Paige was in and out of baseball, pitching sporadically, over the next decade.

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At the age of 55, in 1961, Satchel Paige signed on with the Triple-A Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League, pitching 25 innings, striking out 19 and giving up eight earned runs.

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Satchel Paige failed to record a single decision in his stint with the Beavers.

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Satchel Paige was in the bullpen, sitting on a rocking chair, being served coffee by a "nurse" between innings.

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Satchel Paige started the game by getting Jim Gosger out on a pop foul.

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Satchel Paige walked off to a standing ovation from the small crowd of 9,289.

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Spectacle of watching Satchel Paige pitch was made all the more entertaining by the expansive pitching repertoire he developed over the years.

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Satchel Paige experimented with releasing pitches from a variety of arm angles in that time, something he would build upon later as he added more pitches to the mix.

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In 1933, while playing integrated baseball in Bismarck, North Dakota, The Bismarck Tribune reported that Satchel Paige used "a tricky delayed delivery with great effectiveness, " something that would later become known as Satchel Paige's famous "hesitation pitch".

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When Dean came up to bat, Satchel Paige struck him out with nothing but curveballs—officially adding the pitch to his repertoire.

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Satchel Paige could throw a variety of curveballs at different speeds and arm angles.

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In late 1939, after Satchel Paige had recovered from the severe arm injury that jeopardized his career, he re-designed his pitching repertoire to take better care of his arm.

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Satchel Paige still had an exceptional fastball but he did away with his fast curve, deciding to only throw slow curves from that point forward.

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Satchel Paige added a "slow sinker" and used his hesitation pitch more frequently.

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Satchel Paige was especially known for his tailing fastball, slow curve, hesitation pitch, a fantastic change-up, and a highly effective eephus pitch.

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Pitching this way allowed Satchel Paige to be a highly effective pitcher, even into his fifties.

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Late in 1960, Satchel Paige began collaborating with writer David Lipman on his autobiography, which was published by Doubleday in April 1962, and ran to three printings.

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In 1968, Satchel Paige assumed the position of deputy sheriff in Jackson County, Missouri, with the understanding that he need not bother to actually come to work in the sheriff's office.

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In 1968, Satchel Paige reached out to all twenty MLB teams at the time to try and join one of them on the active roster in order to reach the 158 days required to qualify for the five-year minimum for the pension.

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All of the men on the committee agreed that Satchel Paige had to be the first Negro league player to get elected.

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On February 9,1971, Kuhn announced that Satchel Paige would be the first member of the Negro wing of the Hall of Fame.

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Satchel Paige took a job with the Tulsa Oilers minor league team in 1973 as their pitching coach.

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In 1980, Satchel Paige was named vice-president of the Triple-A Springfield Cardinals, although it was mostly an honorary position.

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Satchel Paige was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2001.

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At his court date, on August 4,1943, Satchel Paige's divorce was finalized with him paying a one time payment of $1,500 plus Howard's $300 attorney's fees.

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Satchel Paige married Lucy Maria Figueroa during his time playing in Puerto Rico in 1940, but because he was not divorced from his first wife, the marriage to Figueroa was not legal.

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Satchel Paige died of a heart attack after a power failure at his home in Kansas City on June 8,1982.

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Satchel Paige is buried on Paige Island in the Forest Hill Calvary Cemetery in Kansas City.

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In 1996, Satchel Paige was portrayed by Delroy Lindo in the HBO made-for-television film Soul of the Game.

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On July 28,2006, a statue of Satchel Paige was unveiled in Cooper Park, Cooperstown, New York commemorating the contributions of the Negro leagues to baseball.

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Note: Satchel Paige suffered a serious arm injury while playing in Mexico.

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