It was a happy birthday for Satchel Paige on this date, as the Indians purchase the Negro League legend from the Kansas City Monarchs, bringing in the ageless right-hander to Cleveland for the second half of the season.
Paige admitted at the time to being at least 39, but that age was disputed as being 42. He will become the oldest player to make his Major League debut two days later, when he allows two hits and strikes out one in two scoreless innings of relief in a 5-3 Indians loss to the St. Louis Browns in Cleveland.
He will work both as a starter and in relief for the Tribe, going 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA through the rest of the 1948 season. He also worked two-thirds of a scoreless inning of relief in the World Series, retiring both men he faced.
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Other news of note on this date in Tribe history…
1923 – The Indians score in every inning, including putting up 13 runs in the sixth, on the way to a 27-3 drubbing of the Boston Red Sox in game one of a doubleheader. The 27 runs set an American League record. They will win the nightcap as well, 8-5.
1955 – Len Barker is born in Fort Knox, Kentucky. The pitcher, who had his ups and downs throughout his career, was at his best in 1981, when he threw the club’s last no-hitter, a perfect game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 15th. He would later start the All-Star Game for the AL.
1966 – Dave Burba is born in Dayton, Ohio. He spent parts of five seasons from 1998 to 2002 as an Indian and won 15 games or more in each of his first three seasons in Cleveland.
1983 – Vic Wertz, member of the 1954 AL pennant winning Cleveland Indians team, passes away in Detroit, Michigan. He was 58. He spent four and a half seasons with the team from 1954 to 1958, making the All-Star team in 1957, and might best be remembered for his long blast at the Polo Grounds that was memorably caught by Willie Mays during the World Series.
2008 – Cleveland sends reigning Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers for slugging prospect Matt LaPorta, starter Zach Jackson, relief prospect Rob Bryson, and a player to be named later. That player would be outfielder Michael Brantley.
2011 – Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams, who was a member of the Indians in 1958, passes away at the age of 82 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
2013 – Brantley hits a pair of homers, including the go-ahead shot in the eighth off of Detroit’s Al Alburquerque, on the way to a 9-6 win to end a seven-game losing skid against the Tigers.