Whirty: Mr. Paige and Mr. Veeck

From SABR member Ryan Whirty at Home Plate Don’t Move on August 19, 2015:

In 1948, around about the time fabled Indians owner Bill Veeck signed legendary Negro Leagues pitcher Satchel Paige to the latter’s first Major League contract, Veeck personally hauled Satchel with him to Paige’s hometown of Mobile, Ala., quite a trip for the pair.

Veeck’s mission? To solve, once and for all, how old Paige actually was. Because ever since Paige began his paid baseball career in 1924 with his hometown Mobile Tigers, and as his legend as a hurler supreme grew into almost mythical proportions, Paige frequently provided reporters and other members of the public with a birthdate range of almost a decade, anywhere from 1900 to 1908.

Paige did that, actually, largely because he didn’t know himself. In fact, that chronological slipperiness was part and parcel of the mythology surrounding the tall, lanky man whom many believe was the greatest pitcher of all time, regardless of race or era.

When they got to Mobile, Veeck rounded up the rest of Satchel’s family and personally accompanied them to the local health department to pull Satchel’s birth certificate and unlock the mystery of Paige’s birthdate.

Read the full article here: https://homeplatedontmove.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/mr-paige-and-mr-veeck/

Originally published: August 19, 2015. Last Updated: August 19, 2015.