From Bob Lemke at Bob Lemke’s Blog on June 4, 2013:
I found an interesting story in the March 30, 1949, issue of The Sporting News that almost certainly had some connection to Bill Veeck’s use of midget pinch-hitter Eddie Gaedel two years later.
Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Gordon Cobbledick was reporting from the Indians’ spring training site in Tucson.
The crux of the article was about a wager between Indians coach Oscar Melillo and Satchel Paige.
Paige had only recently arrived in camp, two weeks later than the rest of the pitchers. With the permission of manager Lou Boudreau, the ageless Paige had been conditioning on his own at Hot Springs, Ark.
When Melillo first encountered Paige he said (I’d guess Cobbledick took some liberties in quoting the parties involved), “I hear you got control.”
“Man, you didn’t hear no lie,” Paige was quoted as replying.
After a bit more back and forth, with some kibitzing from other players, a wager was proposed by Melillo that Paige couldn’t throw eight of ten pitches for a strike.
Read the full article here: http://boblemke.blogspot.com/2013/06/melillo-predicted-veecks-midget-batter.html
Originally published: June 5, 2013. Last Updated: June 5, 2013.