Famous Missourian: Leroy "Satchel" Paige
July 02, 2012
Leroy Robert Paige, better known as Satchel Paige, was born in Mobile, Alabama to John Page (later changed to “Paige”) and Lula Coleman. John Page was born March 20, 1879 in Alabama. Lula, the daughter of a slave, was born in August 1875, also in Alabama. John and Lula were married around 1895. John started out in married life as a day worker, later becoming a gardener/landscaper. The two had twelve children, born over twenty-two years. John, age forty-seven, passed away on March 25, 1926 from acute deterioration of health and was buried in the city-owned cemetery.
Satchel’s age has always been a mystery. The press reported him being born anywhere from 1901 to 1908, but his mother claimed he was born in 1904. His draft record indicated he was born September 26, 1908, his Social Security card says August 15, 1908, and his passport has February 5, 1908. However, his birth certificate lists his actual birth date as July 7, 1906.
Satchel Paige is considered one of the best pitchers of all time. He first pitched for the Negro Leagues in 1926 and became the highest paid black baseball player in America. Satchel pitched for the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1940s. In 1948, he was promoted to the Major Leagues with the Cleveland Indians, followed by the St. Louis Browns in 1951. He represented the Browns in the All-Star games of 1952 and 1953. Satchel’s final pitch in the Majors (1965) was for the Kansas City Athletics. Paige’s records include: oldest rookie in the Majors (age 42), first black player to pitch in a World Series, oldest player (age 59) in the Majors, and first player from the Negro Leagues elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (1971). In 1999, he ranked Number 19 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Paige supposedly married three times: Janet Howard on October 26, 1934, Luz "Lucy" Maria Figueroa in Puerto Rico in 1940 (which he denied), and Lahoma Jean Brown on October 12, 1947 in Hays, Kansas. Lahoma and Leroy had seven children together. In 1968, Paige was hired as a deputy of the sheriff’s office in Kansas City, Missouri. He also ran for the Missouri legislature. He was defeated partially due to his lack of campaigning (filing in the wrong district did not help either).
On June 5,1982, Satchel attended the dedication of a Kansas City ballpark named for him at 51st St. and Swope Parkway. Three days later, Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige died of heart failure. He is buried on Paige Island in the Forest Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.
By and In Memory of Bill T.
Midwest Genealogy Center