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More than meets the eye: ESPN helps Library of Congress launch “Baseball Americana”

Part 4 of 5: Ageless pitching legend Satchel Paige

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, June 29, the Library of Congress will open its latest exhibit “Baseball Americana” with help from ESPN’s very own Statistics and Information Group (SIG). The exhibit will explore baseball’s roots, its changing traditions and the state of the game today. SIG collaborated with the Library on more than 100 artifacts to develop original content in the form of statistics, trivia questions and historical comparisons to offer new insights into America’s game for everyone, from rookies to the most die-hard baseball fans. With this entry, Front Row continues a five-part series this week illustrating an artifact and providing some of the data SIG provided for the Library of Congress’ exhibit.

Baseball Hall Of Fame inductee Satchel Paige

Satchel Paige (Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)
  • This photo of Satchel Paige was taken during the 1952 season, his fourth in Major League Baseball. A former Negro League star, Paige won a career-high 12 games for the St. Louis Browns that year despite pitching mostly in relief and earned the first of his two All-Star appearances that season.
  • Paige made his MLB debut two days after his 42nd birthday, pitching a pair of scoreless innings for the 1948 Indians. Cleveland had been the first American League team to feature a black player when outfielder Larry Doby appeared for the Tribe in July 1947.
  • Paige’s MLB career only spanned six seasons because of racial segregation; however, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame within six years of his retirement. His last hurrah came on Sept. 25, 1965, when he started and pitched three innings. He was 59 years old at the time, still the oldest player ever to appear in a major league game.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, Front Row will publish Part 5 in this series.