50 years ago today, Satchel Paige became the first Negro League player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. The famed pitcher notable for his longevity—playing until age 47 and attracting record crowds wherever he played—earned a unanimous vote from all the men on the committee. They agreed that Paige must be the first Negro League player to be elected.
Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige threw nothing but fastballs. He was called ‘the hardest thrower in the history of baseball’, but he also had impeccable precision and endurance, playing full games day after day. Joe DiMaggio said that Paige was the best he ever faced and Bob Feller said he was the best he ever saw.
In 1948, at age 42 , Paige made his major league debut for the Cleveland Indians as the first black pitcher to play in the American League, as well as the first one to pitch in and win a World Series. WATCH him play in this mini-biography… (1971)
He was the seventh black player overall to join Major League Baseball. He’s buried on Paige Island in the Forest Hill Memorial Park Cemetery in Kansas City.
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Jamaica became independent (1962)
- George Harrison presented UNICEF with a check for $9 million, ten years after his fundraising began with in The Concert For Bangladesh (1982)
- Voters in Lithuania voted for independence (1991)
- The Vance-Owen peace plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina was announced (1994)
- Space Shuttle astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Michael Foale became the first African-American and first Briton to perform spacewalks (1995)
And, 23 years ago today, the first annual Random Acts of Kindness Week began. Originally, the idea to “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” came to Anne Herbert while sitting in a Sausalito cafe during the 1980s.
After writing the idea on a napkin, she wrote a 1991 book about it, for ages 7 and up. This year, the week-long campaign will run the second week of February, culminating in RAK Day on Feb. 17. (1998)
And, 57 years ago today, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show before a record-setting audience of Americans waiting to see them perform their No. 1 hit, I Want to Hold Your Hand. Never before had so many viewers tuned-in to a live television program; with 73 million viewers, it totaled three-fourths of the total adult audience in the U.S. The band recorded two more songs that night for other Sullivan broadcasts, Please Please Me and Twist and Shout, with the host introducing them—speaking warmly of “their conduct as fine youngsters”. (1964)
Also, Happy 79th Birthday to singer–songwriter Carole King, whose life was portrayed on Broadway in The Carole King Musical. Carol Klein, a Brooklyn girl with passion and chutzpah, she wrangled her way into the record business as a teen and soon had the husband of her dreams and a flourishing career writing hits for the biggest acts in rock n roll. But when her personal life began to unravel, she found her true calling, singing her own songs, and she released one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Tapestry. (1942)
And, 126 years ago today, the sport of volleyball was first introduced to the world. William Morgan invented the game after he met the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, who was teaching the game 10 miles up the road.
Morgan wanted a team sport more suitable for older members of his YMCA who were still athletic, but not able to keep up with running up and down the court. He asked A.G. Spalding to make him a lighter-sized leather ball for volleying back and forth over a 6-foot 6-inch net. Thus, the game that was loosely based on badminton was first played in a YMCA gymnasium in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The 1964 Summer Games in Tokyo was where volleyball was first unveiled as an Olympic sport. (1895)
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