Lester: Satchel Paige’s final MLB game: An early birthday present

From SABR member Larry Lester at The National Pastime Museum on November 17, 2014:

Satchel Paige’s actual birthday remains as mysterious as Satchel wanted it to be. Paige once said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” In 1948, Bill Veeck signed Paige to play for the Cleveland Indians, which happened on the day Satchel turned 42. What a nice birthday present for all baseball fans to see this legendary, almost mythical figure from the all-black leagues. But was he the real deal?

Two days later, in Paige’s first Major League outing, he drew 78,382 fans, the most ever for a night game. His first start—a 5–3 win over the Washington Senators—brought in another 72,434, and he finished the season with a 6–1 record. None of this success was surprising to those who had been watching Satchel fill Negro League stadiums for more than 20 years, from Miami to Anchorage, Puerto Rico to Cuba to the Dominican Republic, and across America’s breadbasket.

After Major League tours with the Indians, St. Louis Browns, and a stop with the Miami Marlins (1956–58) of the International League, Satchel Paige was coming home to play for Charlie O. Finley’s Kansas City A’s. He was now 59, and “Father Time” was not his best friend. This would be his last hurrah!

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/not-my-first-game-satchels-last-mlb-game-early-birthday-present

Originally published: November 17, 2014. Last Updated: November 17, 2014.