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Leroy "Satchel" Paige in the New York State Library Collections

February 2021

Portrait of Satchel Paige kissing a baseballIn 1971, Leroy (Satchel) Paige was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  On the eve of the 50 anniversary of his induction, after Major League Baseball just officially recognized the Negro Leagues (1920-1948) as having Major League status, we celebrate Satchel Paige as he is featured in the collections and resources of the New York State Library. 

As a great star in the Negro Leagues, Paige was ambivalent about joining the Major Leagues.  He anticipated the friction and outright racism that Black players would regularly encounter, and he once suggested forming an exclusively Black major league team as an alternative to integration.  Instead, he was finally signed to pitch for the Cleveland Indians in 1948.  Although he was preceded by the better-known Jackie Robinson and several other players in the Major Leagues, Paige was the first Black pitcher in the American League, and even at 42 years of age, he displayed excellence at his position. 

Satchel Paige played plenty of baseball in New York State in his career.  This is evident from the trove of local newspaper articles and box scores that feature him, even from well before he joined the Major Leagues.  At the New York State Library, we hold a large collection of local newspapers that were filmed as part of the New York State Newspaper Project

Like fans that flocked to see the amazingly talented pitcher, independent researchers and organizations such as the Society for American Baseball Research are drawn to the newspaper collection.  Even in the digital age, we rely on microfilm as a method to access the content of historical newspapers. 

Paige is also featured in these interesting books about baseball that reside in our collections:

  • Baseball Register. St. Louis, Missouri: C. C. Spink & Son, 1953.
    NYSL Call Number: Z 796.357 B29
  • Boyd, B. The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. New York, New York: Little Brown, 1973.
    NYSL Call Number: C 769.42 B789 75-15416
  • Finkelman, Paul. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present : From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century.
    New York : Oxford University Press, 2009. *
  • Dawidoff, Nicholas (editor). Baseball : A Literary Anthology. New York : Library of America : Distributed to the trade in the U.S. by Penguin Putnam Inc., c2002.
    NYSL Call Number 810.80355 B299 202-9623
  • O'Toole, Andrew. The Best Man Plays : Major League Baseball and the Black Athlete, 1901-2002. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2003.
    NYSL Call Number 796.35764 O88 204-6005
  • Paige, Leroy. Maybe I'll Pitch Forever. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1962.
    NYSL Call Number: Z 796.357 P142
    * Not available for interlibrary loan

Image source: Satchel_Paige, Acme Newspictures (public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Selected Newspaper Articles about Satchel Paige


news clipping headline from Kingston Daily Freeman, August 27, 1941


See SATCHEL PAIGE at the STADIUM TONIGHT! Kingston Recreations vs. Kansas City Monarchs Game starts 8:30 p.m.

Citation: The Kingston Daily Freeman, August 27, 1941, used with permission from the Kingston Daily Freeman.



article from Knickerbocker news Aug 5 1942


Paige Pitches Here Tonight

A break from the weatherman is all that is needed to insure the success of tonight's baseball show in Hawkins Stadium.

The Kansas City Monarchs, champions of the Negro American League, come into town led by their swashbuckling hurler, Satchel Paige, for a game with the Capital District All-Stars. The setto is slated for 9 p.m.

The Monarchs will start with Paige, who has rested since Sunday when he pitched before 30,000 fans at Yankee Stadium. In reserve they will have Hilton Smith, an ace hurler who fancies himself every bit as good as Paige. The All-Stars, co-managed by Tom Kane and Eddie Nicholas, Albany Twilight League mentors, will start with Johnny Lynch, the former Cathedral hurler.

Citation: Knickerbocker News, August 5, 1942, used with permission from the Albany Times Union.


article from Knickerbocker News August 6, 1942

Paige Scorns Big League Career

Satchel Paige helped the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League whip the Capital District All Stars, 3 to 0, in Hawkins Stadium last night and then revealed he is not interested in a major league career and believes the mixing of Negro and white players would be a mistake.

His present earnings-they hit $37,000 last year and will be better this season-account for his lack of interest in a major league career.

"As for Negro players on any major league team, well, that creates a problem no amount of argument can clear up," he said. "I doubt that big league clubs could take Negro players to the South to train. Then there's the hotel problem. Negroes would not be permitted to stay at the same hotels as their teammates and that would cause friction.

"Much as I would like to see players of my race in the major leagues, I don't think the present move to get them there is the right one.

"I'd rather see an entire Negro team represent some city in the league."

Paige worked three innings last night before a crowd of 2,000.

Citation: Knickerbocker News, August 5, 1942, used with permission from the Albany Times Union.


article from Jamestown Post, August 28, 1942

Satchel Paige to Hurl Against Fort Niagara In Bisonville Tonight

Buffalo-(UP)- The crack Negro American League Champ Kansas City Monarch, featuring hurler Stachel Paige, clash in Offerman Stadium tonight with the topnotch Fort Niagara soldiers team, winner of 25 of its 30 games this season.

Facing the mighty Paige on the mound will be either Sgt. Jim Mood, coach of the service club, who has won ten games in a row this year, Corp. Steve Peek former New York Yankee twirler, or Corp. Herb Broska.

Citation: Jamestown Post-Journal, August 28, 1942, used with permission from the Jamestown Post-Journal.


image of Satchel Paige and Whitney Ford holding a baseball and glove

SWAP SHOP TALK-Whitney Ford, star southpaw of the New York Yankees, and Satchel Paige chat on dugout steps of Yankee Stadium. Paige, the legendary Negro hurler, has agreed to rejoin organized baseball by playing in the Pacific Coast Team.    

Citation:  Ogdensburg Journal, September 08, 1961, Page 7, used with permission from the Watertown Daily Times.


 
Last Updated: March 3, 2021