There’s his line for the game – – 12 innings pitched (When’s the last time you saw a pitcher go 12?), no earned runs, 7 hits, 9 strikeouts and only 2 walks. Not a bad outing for any pitcher, but this one, Satchel Paige, was at least 46 years old.
The thing is, nobody knew how old Satchel Paige really was. Many people were convinced that Paige himself did not know his actual birth date. Try googling Satchel Paige Age, and you’ll get about 23,000 hits.
One of those hits is the official Satchel Paige website, Satchelpaige.com (Well, it’s official to the extent that they claim be the exclusive licensing agent for Satchel Paige.) Satchelpaige.com says, “It is estimated that Leroy “Satchel” Paige was born on July 7, 1906. The mere idea that his birthday is an estimate provides perfect evidence to the mystery that was Satchel Paige”.
One thing that is certainly known, is that Paige made his Major League pitching debut on July 9, 1948, and that he was and still is, the oldest rookie in Major League history. Of course the reason why Paige did not start pitching in The Majors until he reached the age when most players are well into their retirement, is because he was denied that right; for being black.
On the other hand, not being allowed to pitch in The Majors did not keep Paige from being widely recognized as not only a great Negro League pitcher, but as one of the greatest pitchers ever, period.
In addition to being the oldest rookie in Major League history, Paige was also probably the most famous.
From 1927 to 1948 Satchel Paige was the baseball equivalent of a hired gun: He pitched for any team in the United States or abroad that could afford him. He was the highest paid pitcher of his time, and he wowed crowds with the speed of his fastball, his trick pitches and his considerable bravado. History.com
Technicaly speaking, in 1947, the year before Satchel Paige’s “rookie season”, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, but
The truth is that Satchel Paige had been hacking away at baseball’s color bar decades before the world got to know Jackie Robinson. Satchel laid the groundwork for Jackie the way A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. DuBois, and other early Civil Rights leaders did for Martin Luther King Jr. Paige was as much a poster boy for black baseball as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong was for black music and Paul Robeson was for the black stage – and much as those two became symbols of their art in addition to their race, so Satchel was known not as a great black pitcher but a great pitcher. In the process Satchel Paige, more than anyone, opened to blacks the national pastime and forever changed his sport and this nation. Read more, sabr.org
Willie McCovey hit his first Major League home run on August 2, 1959.
Unlike like his teammate and San Francisco Giants slugging partner, Willie Mays, who was hitless in his first 12 major league at-bats; the other Willie (some other!), Willie McCovey, let the baseball world know from the gitgo that “The New Willie” was anything but, just another Willie.
McCovey made his Major League debut on July 30, facing Phillies Hall of Fame pitcher, Robin Roberts. The 21-year-old McCovey was so intimidated by Roberts that he went four for four, hitting two singles and two triples. On day-one he racked up eight total bases. He would go on to collect another 4,211 total bases to go along with his 521 home runs and 1.550 RBIs, before ending his career in 1980; a career that spanned four decades.
On his second day in the Majors the Giants played the Pirates, and McCovey gave pitcher Harvey Haddix a break, only managing a single in four at bats. On August 1, Giants manager Bill Rigney batted his new phenom third, between Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda. McCovey did not disappoint. He hit a first inning double off of Red Witt and scored on Cepeda’s single. It was déjà vous for Witt in the third inning, another McCovey double and another Cepeda single knocking him in. Then the Giants brought in Bennie Daniels who was able to strike out McCovey in the fourth. Daniels pitched three scoreless innings, but in the seventh McCovey touched him up for a single. Then Cepeda also singled, moving McCovey to second. At that point Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh decided to bring in Roy Face to pitch to Willie Kirkland (Yes, another Willie. The Giants had three). Kirkland singled and McCovey scored. Before the inning ended the Giants had four more runs.
McCovey didn’t homer unitl his fourth game, but in the three games leading up to it he was 8-13 (.615) and had 14 total bases, giving him a slugging average of 1.077. In the game when McCovey hit his first homer, it was his only hit in five at bats.
He played in a total of 52 games during the 1959 and wound up with an average of .354. He also hit 13 home runs, had 38 RBIs and was named National League Rookie of the Year.
McCovey never hit for average like that again, although he was National League MVP in 1969 when he hit .320, belted 45 home runs and knocked in 126 RBIs. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year of eligibility.
Sugar Ray Robinson wins back the Middleweight Crown
He knocks out Randy Turpin in the 10th round, in front of 61,000 at the Polo Grounds in New York.
In 1951, Ring Magazine’s Nat Fleischer famously described Robinson as “the greatest all-around fighter pound-for-pound in any division.” More than 60 years later, many boxing experts today still agree with Fleischer’s assessment.
Sugar Ray Robinson is credited with being the reason for the creation of the mythical pound-for-pound rankings that today occupy so much of the debate and discussion that goes on in the boxing world.
Sugar Ray Robinson. Ali’s idol makes number one on my list like every other credible list. Watching him fight was regarded as being ” sweet as sugar” and from the brief footage I’ve seen and from what I’ve read and heard he deserves top spot. In his first twelve years as a professional he only lost one fight and he avenged it many times over.
Read more at http://www.boxingnews24.com/2014/04/the-greatest-15-boxers-pound-4-pound-of-all-time/#fTGaY4dSvCrfwouk.99
“Pound for pound, the best.” The claim has been used to describe many boxers, but it was invented for Sugar Ray Robinson.
After stopping Jake Lamotta on February 14, 1951 (The St. Valentines Day Massacre) Robinson won an unanimous decision in a non-title against Holly Mims on April 5 of that year. Four days later (Things were different then.) he fought another non-title bout against Don Ellis, and he knocked out Ellis in the first round.
Robinson fought and won two non-title bouts in April of 1951. Then he sailed to Europe and fought six non-title fights (Paris, Zurich, Antwerp, Liege, Berlin and Torino). On July 10 he lost his title to Randy Turpin in London. Turpin a “Negro Englishman,” won a 15-round decision in what was is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in the history of boxing. By all accounts Turpin won the fight decisively.
Robinson had a re-match clause in his contract, so the stage was set for Robison-Turpin II. Here’s what Alistair Cooke wrote about the fight in the Manchester Guardian.
Last night Sugar Ray Robinson, tiring to the point of panic before the concrete insensibility of Turpin’s massive flesh, wrung everything he had from a brave heart, fought from his finger-tips, and at last had Turpin helpless against the ropes, his arms by his thighs, his stubborn body reeling back and forth like a beaten bull when the flags go in.
I have never seen a human being receive so much punishment with such dumb bravery. For almost a whole minute Robinson crashed and shot and pounded at him until his head sagged from one side to the other with the flopping rhythm of a broken pendulum. An old man sitting next to me lit a cigar with deadly precision, keeping his eyes steadily above the flame on the crumbling Turpin. “Thirty seconds more” he sold quietly. ” and we’ll have another Flores on our hands.” (Flores, the young boxer killed ten days ago by a similar bravery before just such an onslaught.)
It did seem then that Turpin should be rescued to fight another day. If there had been another minute, I do believe that he would have gone down and out for a long time to come. But pride never lacks pretext and unfortunately there were only eight seconds of that round to go when the referee bounded in and scissored his arms to stop the fight Turpin fell on him in a face-down dive, and it seemed to one no more than twenty feet away that it was a gesture of ox-like gratitude.
Sam’s Celtics Forum
Bill Russell’s first game as a Celtic took place on December 22, 1956. It was a matinee with the St. Louis Hawks at Boston Garden that was televised nationally as the NBA Game of the Week. Attendance at Celtics games had averaged less than 7,000 so far that year. More than 11,000 fans who could have watched at home bought tickets to see the rookie sensation in person.
Bill was a phenomenon if ever there was one, a 6’ 10” center with the speed and agility of a guard. He had won back to back NCAA championships and an Olympic gold medal. He had performed the most noble act at the Olympics, giving up his chance to compete for a medal in the high jump, so that a friend could have a spot on the track and field team. Red Auerbach was so impressed that, before the draft, he traded smooth scoring, fan favorite Ed Macauley, an All-Star, and a highly touted prospect, Cliff Hagen, to the St. Louis Hawks to obtain Bill’s rights.