Paige was filled with life and had a youthfulness about him, even as he aged. Fans were drawn to Paige and he obliged them by being a friendly, gracious signer. With a very deliberate and neat appearance, his autograph was penned with great care, from his playing career throughout his life. Although he passed away in 1982, Paige did sign a reasonable amount of items in the 1970s and right up until the hobby started to blossom. While many of the single-signed baseballs you encounter are signed on the side panel, Paige also signed on the sweet spot from time to time. Finding a Paige autograph that dates to his time in the Negro Leagues is an entirely different story. Locating an example from that period is rare and the most desirable type of autograph from this MLB pioneer.
Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige (July 7, 1906 - June 8, 1982) began his big league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 at the age of 42, making him the oldest player to debut in Major League Baseball. Satchel helped Cleveland win the American League pennant and World Series in his first year. Satchel Paige is widely considered the greatest pitcher to emerge from the Negro Leagues posting an unofficial record of 103-61 (a .638 winning percentage), with 1,231 strikeouts and a 2.02 ERA. Paige was a hard-throwing right-hander playing with the Cleveland Indians (1948-1949), the St. Louis Browns (1951-1953) and the Kansas City A’s (1965) compiling an unimpressive record of 28-31 with 288 strikeouts and a 3.29 ERA. Satchel’s career spanned five decades including a 1965 appearance pitching three shutout innings allowing only one hit. Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio referred to Paige as “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.” Paige got his nickname as a boy, lugging bags and satchels for railroad passengers. The Negro Leagues Committee elected Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.