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 5 celebrates the last "Paige" of Baseball -
Major League Baseball - Cleveland Indians - 1948-1949
Jackie Robinson who was Satchel Paige's teammate in Kansas City in 1945 would beat him to the Majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers, but in July of 1948 in the midst of a pennant race Bill Veeck's Cleveland Indians would sign Satchel Paige for $40,000 for the final three months of the season.
Paige would become the first Negro pitcher in the American League joining teammate Larry Doby with the Indians.
Philadelphia Stars, St. Louis Browns, Harlem Globetrotters, Kansas City Monarchs - 1950-1953
Bill Veeck needing to pay for his divorce was forced to sell the team which led to the release of Paige and put him back on the road as a Barnstormer. First signing with the Negro American League Philadelphia Stars. Then Bill Veeck came back into his life by purchasing controlling interest in the St. Louis Browns and signing Paige for the 1951 season.
Once again, Satchel returned to barnstorming, this time with a baseball sketch in the traveling tour of the Harlem Globetrotters with Goose Tatum. Growing tired of the travel he returned to the Kansas City Monarchs.
Greensboro Patriots, Miami Marlins, Havana Cuban Stars - 1955-1959
In 1955, Paige signed with the Greensboro Patriots of the Carolina League, but his contract was ruled invalid. Enter Bill Veeck again who was now running the Phillies AAA team, the Miami Marlins signing Paige for $15,000 and a percentage of the gate.
In 1959, Paige returned to his barnstorm roots and signed with the Havana Cuban Stars.
Winding down - Portland Beavers, Kansas City Athletics, Peninsula Grays, Anchorage Earthquakers and Indianapolis Clowns - 1961-1967
In 1961, Paige nearing the end of his career would sign with the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League.
In 1965, Charles Finley would sign Paige to pitch for the Kansas City Athletics
In 1966, Paige pitched for the Peninsula Grays of the Carolina League with a then young catcher Johnny Bench. Paige would then play for the semi-pro Anchorage Earthquakers barnstorming thru Canada.
In 1967, Paige would appear with the Indianapolis Clowns.
One more for the road Atlanta Braves - 1969
In August of 1969, Atlanta Braves owner William Bartholomay, signed Paige to a contract as a pitching coach, but actually to raise interest in the club. Most importantly this would satisfy Satchel's requirements for a pension.