Satchel Paige

American baseball player and coach (1906-1982)

Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige (July 7, 1906June 8, 1982) was an American baseball player whose pitching in the Negro leagues and in Major League Baseball made him a legend in his own lifetime. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, the first player to be inducted from the Negro leagues.

Paige's 1949 Bowman Gum baseball card, during his tenure with the Indians
Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.


  • I ain't as fast as I used to be, but I'm a better pitcher. I used to overpower them; now I out-cute them.
    • "The Independent," (St. Petersburg, Florida, July 8, 1948)
  • Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
    If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
    Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
    Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society— the social ramble ain't restful.
    Avoid running at all times.
    And don't look back— something might be gaining on you.
    • "How to Stay Young," Collier's Magazine (13 June 1953)
  • There ain't no man can avoid being born average. But there ain't no man got to be common.
    • "Change of Pace" by Jim Raglin, Lincoln Evening Journal and Nebraska State Journal (July 26, 1958), p. 8
  • Cool Papa was so fast that he could turn off the light switch and get into bed before the room got dark.
    • "On Today's Scene: Paige Admits He's Feeling His Age" by William Gildea, The Washington Post (Apr 29, 1969), p. D2
  • Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.
    • New York Post (4 October 1959)
  • I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation.
    • New York Times (June 9, 1982)
  • They said I was the greatest pitcher they ever saw... I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t give me no justice.
    • New York Times (June 9, 1982)
  • Don't go to college, unless to get knowledge.
    • "Telfer campaign" (March 2003)

Maybe I'll Pitch Forever (1961)

  • You may be right, man, but 22 years is a long time to be a rookie.
    • In response to sportswriter's touting of Paige's stellar but much-belated first MLB season as frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Quotes about

  • A bunch of the fellows get in a barber session the other day and they start to arguefy about the best pitcher they ever seen. Some says Lefty Grove and Lefty Gomez and Walter Johnson and old Pete Alexander and Dazzy Vance. And they mention Lonnie Warneke and Van Mungoand Carl Hubbell and Johnny Corriden tells us about Matty and he sure must of been great and some of the boys even say old Diz is the best they ever see. But I see all them fellows but Matty and Johnson and I know who's the best pitcher I ever see and it's old Satchel Paige, that big, lanky colored boy. Say, old Diz is pretty fast back in 1933 and 1934, and you know my fastball looks like a change of pace alongside that little pistol bullet Satchel shoots up to the plate. And I really know something about it, because for four, five years, I tour around at the end of the season with All-Star teams and I see plenty of old Satch. He sure is a pistol. It's too bad those colored boys don't play in the big leagues, because they sure got some great players. [...] Anyways, that skinny old Satchel Paige with those long arms is my idea of the pitcher with the greatest stuff I ever did see.
  • I have pitched 31 games against that Satchel Paige and that guy really has something. If he pitches in the majors, he'd be worth $1 million. He's still a great pitcher, but was he some boy a few years ago. Wowee!
    • Dizzy Dean, as quoted in "Everybody Talked Satch But Jackie Was 1st" by Phil Pepe, New York Daily News (February 12, 1971)
  • Get the runs now, boys; Father Time is coming.
    • Casey Stengel, speaking as manager of the New York Yankees, whenever he saw Paige preparing to relieve the opposing pitcher; as quoted in "Everybody Talked Satch But Jackie Was 1st" by Phil Pepe, New York Daily News (February 12, 1971)
  • 'Satchel' Paige, pitcher for the Bismark, N.D., team which is in the tournament, is one of the greatest flingers, Wagner thinks. Wagner has seen him play. "The only trouble they will have about Paige is getting a catcher to hold him. Boy—that fellow has a speed ball that goes in there like a bullet. I've seen it go right through a catcher and into the stands. It takes a great backstop to stand up to his fastball. Quite often, Paige has that trouble—a catcher who just can't hold him. Then he has to ease down and when he eases down you can beat him. That colored boy is tall, slender and has good shoulders and arms. He looks like 'Dizzy' Dean and pitches much like him."
    • Honus Wagner, as paraphrased and quoted in "Wagner Predicts Cards Will Capture Pennant; Baseball Immortal, Here for Tourney, Says Red Birds Are 'Fighters'; Warns a Colored Dizzy Dean is Headed This Way; "Strong for 'Satchel,'" The Wichita Beacon (August 13, 1935), p. 1
  • It starts out like a baseball and when it gets to the plate, it looks like a marble.
    • Hack Wilson, describing Paige's fastball; as quoted in "Everybody Talked Satch But Jackie Was 1st" by Phil Pepe, New York Daily News (February 12, 1971)
  • Paul [Robeson] was holding forth on the wizardry of old Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and other black ballplayers jimcrowed out of what was euphemistically called the national pastime.
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