Baseball legend Satchel Paige passes away in Kansas City, Missouri. He was believed to be 75.
Paige spent nearly 20 years bouncing around the country playing and barnstorming in a variety of leagues and markets before returning to Cleveland, where he had once pitched in the Negro National League with the Cleveland Cubs. He made his Major League debut with the Indians in 1948.
He was thought to be two days past his 42nd birthday when he suited up in an MLB game for the first time, allowing two hits and striking out one batter in two innings of work against the St. Louis Browns. He would appear in 21 games over the final three months of that season for the Tribe, making seven starts in addition to his 14 relief appearances. He finished the year with a 6-1 record and 2.48 ERA while throwing three complete games and a pair of shutouts. He also worked in one game in the World Series, retiring both batters he faced around a balk.
He played 31 games with the Indians the following season, going 4-7 with a 3.04 ERA before his release on February 17, 1950. He would return to the Majors in 1951 with the Browns and spent three seasons in the Midwest, making a pair of All-Star teams in 1952 and 1953 while winning an MLB career-high of 12 games in ’52. The team relocated to Baltimore and he was released by the club in February of 1954, but he would return again to the Bigs eleven seasons later, when he pitched three scoreless innings in one outing at the age of 59 for the Kansas City Athletics to make him the oldest person to play in a Major League game.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1975 – The Indians honor Hall of Fame inductee Earl Averill, voted in that season by the Veteran’s Committee, by retiring his number 3. The team split the day’s doubleheader with the Texas Rangers, dropping the latter game in 17 innings.