Today would have been the 103rd birthday of Leroy “Satchel” Paige, the legendary pitcher from the old Negro Leagues. Boston.com has a column about Paige by Larry Tye, who has written a well-received biography of the baseball star.
Tye’s column contends that Paige was a subversive to the Jim Crow laws of his era:
But there is more to Satchel’s legacy than eye-popping records. While many dismissed him as a Stepin Fetchit if not an Uncle Tom, he was something else entirely – a quiet subversive, defying Uncle Tom and Jim Crow. He refused to play in a town unless it supplied lodging and food to him and his teammates, a defiance for which young civil rights workers later would get arrested.
Paige is known for many things in baseball, but most remember him because of his turn of a phrase. The Brainy Quote website has a host of Paigeisms, including:
Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common.
And his most famous line:
Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.
Happy birthday, Satchel Paige.
More to come…