Turbow: Satchel Paige vs. Joe DiMaggio in a 1936 exhibition

From SABR member Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on June 26, 2017:

As the New York Yankees prepared for the upcoming 1936 season, they realized that changes were mandatory. Babe Ruth’s recent retirement put an exclamation point on the fact that New York had missed the playoffs in six of the seven previous seasons. With the club thirsting for an infusion of new blood, management’s biggest roster decision concerned a young unknown from the West Coast, who had terrorized Pacific Coast League pitchers the previous season.

The Yankees had already agreed with San Francisco Seals owner Charles Graham on the purchase price for 21-year-old Joe DiMaggio, but before they pulled the trigger they wanted to run one more test for the young star. To execute it, they chose the game’s greatest pitcher, a guy who wasn’t let anywhere near a big league diamond during the regular season.         

Satchel Paige fielded their call in the middle of a wintertime vacation in Los Angeles. When New York brass asked him to travel north for an exhibition game against DiMaggio and a team of Bay Area–based Major League stars, he gathered his traveling squad—consisting entirely of catcher Ebel Brooks of the New York Black Yankees—and lit out for Oakland. Upon arriving, he filled out his roster with whatever black semipro and sandlot players he could find.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/satchel-paige-versus-joe-dimaggio-exhibition-game-1936

Originally published: June 26, 2017. Last Updated: June 26, 2017.