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Today in Sports History: 2/9 | Satchel Paige Elected to the Hall of Fame

Today in sports history (1971), baseball legend LeRoy (Satchel) Paige was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame. Paige made a career pitching in the Negro League, as opposed to the MLB. Paige finally made an MLB roster with the Cleveland Indians when he was 42 years old.

During his time in Negro League, Paige was so confident in himself that he would often tell his infielders to sit down, while he struck out the batter. Paige holds the record for the oldest player to play in a game. He was 59 years old when he played for the Kansas City Athletics, 13 years after he retired.

Satchel Paige
Credit: AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, File

Satchel Paige Becomes the Greatest Negro League Player Ever

There has never been anyone like Paige, before or after in the history of baseball. With his techniques, some have compared Paige with Roy Halladay. His 6-3 height allowed him to throw a blazing fastball. Though he had this fastball, his best trait may be his command. He was just an intimidating figure for hitters. With Paige making his debut in the MLB, he became the only Negro League player to play in the MLB. In his time within the Negro League, Paige compiled a 2.38 ERA and 15 strikeouts, while only giving up 23 home runs.

Due to his limited play in the MLB, Paige has turned into some sort of a myth. MLB greats, like Jo DiMaggio, Bob Feller, Hack Wilson and Dizzy Dean, all spoke highly of him. DiMaggio, who holds the record for the longest hit streak (56), said Paige was the best pitcher he ever faced. Sportswriter, Joe Posnanski said that Paige would almost exclusively throw fastballs and still dominated for 15 years.

He was recently ranked number 41 on ESPN’s top 100 baseball players of all-time list. This was one spot ahead of Nolan Ryan.

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