On This Date in Sports August 6, 1952: Old Satchel
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Satchel Paige of the St. Louis Browns pitches a 12-inning complete-game shutout, beating the Detroit Tigers 1-0 at Sportsman's Park. Paige allows seven hits and walks a pair while recording nine strikeouts. The Browns win the game on a two-out single by Bob Nieman, scoring Bobby Young, as Hal White, who came on to pitch in extra innings, takes the loss for Detroit. At 46, Satchel Paige is the oldest pitcher to pitch a shutout.
Leroy Paige was born on July 7, 1906, in Mobile, Alabama. As a boy, Paige would carry bags for passengers at a local train station, earning the nickname Satchel. When he was 12, Satchel Paige was sentenced to six years in juvenile detention for throwing rocks at white kids. While in the reform school prison in Alabama, Paige was taught how to pitch by the Reverend Moses Davis, who worked at the Alabama Reform School for Juvenile Negro Law-Breakers in Mount Meigs.
Upon his release, Satchel Paige began pitching in local semi-pro leagues. In 1926, Paige signed his first professional contract with the Chattanooga White Sox of the Negro Southern League. Paige's rubber arm began to draw attention for his ability to strike out nearly every batter he faced. In 1927, Satchel Paige joined the Negro Major Leagues when he was sold to the Birmingham Black Barons.
The 1930s was the golden age of the Negro Leagues, with Satchel Paige becoming the biggest star. The wiry Satchel Paige dazzled with his fastball, often calling his fielders in as he guaranteed he would get a strikeout. Whenever Paige had a chance to play barnstorming events against white players, he showed his greatness. The greatness in its prime could have been one of the best pitchers of all time had Satchel Paige had a fair chance to play in the majors.
When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, Satchel Paige was already over 40. However, he still impressed all those who watched him as he barnstormed with Bob Feller in the off-season. In 1948, at 42, Satchel Paige finally made it to the big leagues, playing alongside Feller with the Cleveland Indians. Paige posted a record of 6-1 and appeared in the Fall Classic as the Indians won the 1948 World Series. Satchel Paige was released after posting a record of 4-7 in 1949. After spending the 1950 season on a barnstorming tour, the 45-year-old signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1951.
Playing for a terrible Browns team, Satchel Paige posted a record of 3-4 in 1951 and finished 1952 at 12-10, with the shutout being the highlight of his season. In 1985, Phil Niekro of the New York Yankees tossed a shutout on the final game of the season to win his 300th game at the age of 46, while Jamie Moyer is the oldest to official throw a complete game shutout at the age of 47 with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010.