“Satchel Paige is not old”

11 Dec

Satchel Paige was still a big enough draw in 1961 for his appearance in Spokane with the Portland Beavers to rate a front-page story in The Spokesman Review.

Reporter Dorothy Rochon Powers, called “Spokane’s best known and beloved journalist,” who spent more than 40 years with the paper, interviewed Paige:

“Satchel Paige is not old and no man’s got any business sticking his nose on the moon.

“And the man to tell you both is Leroy Satchel Paige.”

Satchel 1961

Paige told Powers:

“I’m the onliest man in the United States they don’t anybody know anything about his age!”

He vowed he was “never gonna turn that secret loose.”

Paige said Bill Veeck was the cause of the perpetual questions about his age.

“Veeck made a gag out of how old I was. People took it and haven’t let loose.”

As for the moon, Paige opined:

“People trying to get to the moon now. They didn’t put the moon up there; they got no business seeing what’s there.”

He told Powers he only ate two meals a day:

“I never had three meals in my life. When I got to the place where I could have three meals, I had six children—and I had to give it to them.”

Asked about his kids, the pitcher took out “a hand-printed list” of their names and ages.

And some Satchel wisdom:

“I don’t have no money. I never had none, so it don’t worry me. My hair’s gonna be black a long time if they wait for me to get gray hair worryin’ over money.”

Ad for Spokane vs. Portland

Paige pitched four innings for The Beavers on August 31, Harry Missildine, sports columnist for The Spokesman Review said:

“He was entertaining in four innings. He was effective for at least three.”

Paige ended each inning with a cigarette at the top of the dugout steps, “which is contrary to Pacific Coast League rules and custom…but I guess Paige is old enough to smoke if he wants to.”

Satchel gave up two earned runs in four innings and was pulled for a pinch hitter with Portland trailing 2 to 1; the Beavers came back to win 9 to 8.

The 54-year-old Paige appeared in five games for Portland with no decisions and 2.88 ERA in 25 innings.

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