Mobile native, Leroy “Satchel” Paige, pictured here in the 1948 season for the Cleveland Indians, was born July 7, 1906, the third son and seventh child of what would eventually be 12 children.
When he was 7, Paige worked as a baggage carrier, lugging passengers’ satchels from the L&N station to Downtown hotels like the Battle House. During this time, he earned the moniker “Satchel,” either because he carried a lot of bags at once or because he stole many bags — theories abound.
It was during his court-appointed time at Mount Meigs Negro Reform School (he was convicted of theft and school truancy) that he procured his talent as a baseball pitcher. Paige went on to be the first black pitcher in the major leagues and the oldest rookie in history, earning him a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
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Original photo courtesy Marshall Wormley, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama • Colorization by Dynamichrome Limited