Why Satchel Paige didn’t pitch for Greensboro

“In 1955 an offer came [to Satchel Paige, at age 49] to pitch for the Greensboro Patriots of the Carolina League. The team’s first black player, he was scheduled to pitch at home against Reidsville, a Phillies farm team. But the Phillies’ farm director protested the Paige appearance as ‘a travesty of the game’ and ‘a farce.’

“The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues ruled that Greensboro could use Paige only in exhibition games, [not in the already sold-out game against Reidsville]. When Hurricane Diane deluged the Carolinas, washing away the game, the Patriots decided not to press the case and released him before he had thrown a pitch….

“In 1966 Paige pitched one game, without protest, for the Carolina League’s Peninsula Pilots of Hampton, Va.  — against the same Greensboro Patriots who had been forced to release him in 1955. Attracting over 3,000 fans to Hampton’s War Memorial Stadium, he gave up two runs in the first inning, threw a scoreless second and then left organized baseball, never to return as a player.”

— From “Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball” by Mark Ribowsky (1994)

In 1971 Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige became the first Negro League player inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 1982.

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