#Spotlight – What better way to preview the Negro Leagues upcoming Centennial Anniversary than a trip down baseball's memory lane through the unique travel's of a true baseball original - Satchel Paige.
Part 4 - The ban is over, the path to the Majors
Kansas City Travelers, Kansas City Monarchs, New York Black Yankees and Harlem Stars - 1940-1947
In 1940, Satchel would return to the United States for the upcoming season with the Kansas City Travelers, but Abe and Effa Manley of the Newark Eagles claimed they still owned his rights in the Negro Leagues. The Manley's raided Wilkenson's Monarch's team for players in retaliation. When the league intervened allowing Paige to stay with the Kansas City Monarchs while also letting the players the Manley's signed stay with Newark. With games few and far between, Wilkinson would loan Paige out to other team for a portion of their gate receipts. To facilitate travel, Wilkinson would purchase an airplane to fly Paige from game to game. This arrangement would provide Paige with earnings over $40,000 per year which was 4x what most Major League players were earning and the same as Joe DiMaggio.
As part of the traveling, Wilkinson would arrange for Paige to pitch for the New York Black Yankees in 1941 in front of 20,000, which was commemorated in a pictorial in Life Magazine.
Paige would then return to Kansas City to pitch for the Monarchs where he would often open games and pitch for three innings and then be followed by Hilton Smith who would pitch the rest of the game.
In 1943 during the East-West All-Star Game, which was played before a record 51,723 fans in Chicago.
1945 would see Paige's barnstorming take him to Harlem to play with the Harlem Stars. Pictured here with Goose Tatum.
In 1946, Paige would begin a barnstorming tour with Bob Feller, and would include such All-Stars as Mickey Vernon, Phil Rizzuto and Stan Musial. Paige's team would consist of Negro League stars Buck O'Neil, Hank Thompson, Hilton Smith and Quincy Trouppe.