NOTE: STATUE REMOVED 2015 Statue of Satchel Paige, PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA.
NOTE: This statue, and six others of legendary Negro League players, were removed from PNC Park by the Pirates and sold in spring 2015, with proceeds benefiting the Josh Gibson Foundation. See link below for details. This statue is a dedication to the legacy Satchel Paige left on the game of baseball. Satchel Paige began his baseball career by playing for a few different teams in the National Negro League; during which time, Paige became one of the most fearsome pitchers in baseball history. Finally in 1948, Satchel was finally allowed into the major leagues at the age of 42, which would make him the oldest man to ever debut in the majors.
Backstory and Context
The integration of baseball, with the signing of Jackie Robinson, would affect Satchel Paige in a very dramatic way. On one hand, he understood that it was probably best for Jackie to be the first player to break the color line and help everyone get use to the idea of playing along side black players. Deep down though, Satchel Paige felt, like many other Negro players of the time, that he should have been the player to break the color line in baseball. He was the player, after all, that all the big time white players wanted to barnstorm against with his legendary pitches.
Paige finally got his chance to play in the major leagues when the Cleveland Indians called him up to help with a pennant run in 1948. This would make him the oldest player to make a debut in the major leagues at the age of 42. Like the National Negro League, Paige bounced around to a few teams before finally retiring 1966. It was his pitching style that many people remember him for though. For the first decade or so, Paige was said to only throw fastballs, with the occasional curveball, which were close to being impossible to hit by some. He did suffer an arm injury later in his career, which forced him to start throwing different types of balls, all of which he became extremely efficient at throwing.