August 13, 1948
The surprising acquisition of Satchel Paige by Bill Veeck and the Cleveland Indians has not gone unnoticed around the league. While the move to add the ageless wonder and legend has garnered its share of attention, his efforts on the mound have done plenty to back up the move, as he has given the Indians bullpen a legitimate arm.
Through his first eleven games representing Cleveland in the Major Leagues, Paige has a 3-1 mark with a 2.15 ERA. He has primarily appeared in relief roles, pitching in ten ball games and finishing three of them while allowing runs in just three games. He has come in with leads to hold, come in to keep deficits to a minimum, and has even saved his manager Lou Boudreau and the rest of his bullpen mates in a close game two games ago against the St. Louis Browns, pitching nearly three innings of relief in a two-run game.
Paige has even started a game, a 5-3 final against Washington at the beginning of the month. He pitched seven innings with just a few days rest and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out six.
Paige will reprise that role on Friday night at Comiskey Park in Chicago, where his Indians take on the White Sox. He will return to a city quite familiar with his efforts, as he spent time on the mound in Comiskey while appearing in the Negro League All-Star game, which he typically was a participant in. He barnstormed across the country and through the Chicago area and played in the city while in the Negro National Leagues.
The city is apparently ready for his return. Shortly after Boudreau announced Paige as his starter for the game on Friday, August 13, nearly all of the reserved seats were sold in advance of the game. It has been almost a full decade since the last time Comiskey Park has seen reserved seats scooped up that far prior to a ball game in Chicago.
This is a big series for the Tribesmen, as they look to remain in the mix in the American League pennant chase. They come in a half-game behind the Philadelphia Athletics for the top spot, with Boston and New York both hard charging behind them.
Randy Gumpert (1-1, 4.02 ERA) is slated to start for the White Sox against Paige. He was purchased by Chicago from New York on July 25. He has appeared in 17 games this season, twice as a starter.
Following Paige to the mound this series on Saturday will be Steve Gromek (6-2, 3.01). He is expected to be challenged by Al Gettel (3-7, 5.63), the former Indians pitcher who was dealt away with Pat Seerey in the trade for Bob Kennedy. Gromek has pitched primarily in relief, making five starts in 29 total games. He won his last start in his last appearance, a seven inning effort against New York on August 8.
Both Bob Feller (11-13, 4.59) and Bob Lemon (15-10, 3.03) are expected to start in Sunday’s doubleheader. The better two pitchers on the Chicago staff, Bill Wight (7-12, 4.66) and Joe Haynes (5-8, 3.75), are expected to start against the Cleveland aces. Haynes was an American League All-Star teammate of both Feller and Lemon this season.