July 10, 2006


Paige family remembers Satchel (Justice B. Hill, 07/08/2006, MLB.com)

At the table with Robert Paige were his siblings. His sisters Lula, Rita, Caroline and Pam were there. His little brother Warren was at the table as well, and throw in his nephew Michael, and Robert Paige had his father Satchel's present and future at his side.

They were there Saturday for a simple purpose: to celebrate the family patriarch's 100th birthday, and they were there, all of them smartly dressed in white-and-red Monarch jerseys, to offer insight into the iconic life of Satchel Paige, the baseball globetrotter and the most storied name from "black baseball." [...]

[T]hey all said their father and his success as a baseball player had created a comfortable life for them. They wanted for little, and whenever money did get a bit tight, they adjusted. So their father had earned the right, as one of Satchel's grandsons put it, to "supervise."

He also earned the right to live life on his terms. Satchel Paige, who died June 8, 1982, had his likes; he had his dislikes. He was a caring father; he was also energetic, talkative and a natural comedian.

Satchel Paige's time-honored maxims about age prove the latter:

• About age: "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."
• Or airplanes: "Airplanes may kill you, but they ain't likely to hurt you."
• Or work: "I ain't ever had a job, I just always played baseball"
• Or character: "Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common."

Call Satchel Paige a lot of things, but he wasn't average or common. He was special, particularly so to the men and women who called him their father.

Now, they'd just love one more dance contest with him. Just one more time of whirling around the dance floor to a Motown or jazz favorite. Even an old Elvis tune would do. Their dad's taste in music didn't fit neatly into a pile anymore than his life did.

They remember that fact well, just as they remember endless stories about the man whose legacy they intend to carry on.

Robert Paige, 54, offered one such story:

His mother needed to go to the grocery store to buy some chicken, so she asked Satchel for some money. All he had was a $100 bill, so he gave it to her. Off she went to the store with Robert in tow.

A short while later, she and Robert returned with the groceries. She took the bags into the kitchen and Robert went to watch TV. A short while later, his father comes into the room.

"Pull the shades back," Satchel told Robert. "He said, 'You know you and your mother went to the store.' I said, 'Yeah, we went to the store.'

"He said, 'You know I gave her $100 bill.' I said, 'OK, you gave her $100 bill.' He said, 'I want you to pull the shades back so I can see the truck that's gonna bring that chicken up in here.' "

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 10, 2006 9:47 AM

Is it true that Satchel played pro baseball 22 years before being named rookie of they year? Also, did he coin the phrase if you didn't know how old you are how old would you be?

I think these came from an old Life magazine interview many years ago.

Posted by: Tom Wall at July 10, 2006 12:55 PM




Posted by: oj at July 10, 2006 12:59 PM