More North Dakota Baseball Players Who Set Major League Records

Last week I focused on three major league record holders in the first decade of the 20th century who also played baseball in North Dakota.. All three – Roy Patterson, Deacon Phillippe and Bob Unglaub – had also been star baseball players for the Millers.

The second event was the lifting of the ban in 1946 that prohibited African Americans from playing for MLB teams or any of their affiliated minor league teams. To my knowledge, there has never been a formal ban on blacks playing baseball in North Dakota, and because a ban was in place for organized professional teams, many of the best black players were brought in. to play for teams from that state.

Shortly after the color barrier was lifted, a number of these players signed major league contracts. Two of the best were Satchel Paige and Quincy Trouppe, both of whom had played for several years on teams in North Dakota.

More age records than any other MLB player

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Satchel Paige seen in 1948. Acme Newspictures / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons / Forum Special

Satchel Paige seen in 1948. Acme Newspictures / Public domain / Wikimedia Commons / Forum Special

At 42, Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the oldest MLB player to make his debut, when he first appeared in a baseball game in 1948. Seventeen years later, at the aged 59, he became the oldest player to appear in an official major league game. He was also the oldest pitcher to pitch in the World Series, pitch in an All-Star game, lead his team in wins, throw a shutout, pitch a full game and take out another player from the league. major in a regular season game. Additionally, Paige was the first African American to launch in the American League.

In 1933, Neil Churchill, a Bismarck car dealership, bought and managed the Bismarck Grays, a semi-professional baseball team. At that time, the best team in North Dakota was the Jamestown Red Sox, who had a number of very good black players on their squad. At the end of the season and desperate to win the state title, Churchill hired Paige, who many believed to be the best pitcher in the Black Leagues.

Paige pitched nine games for Bismarck, of which he won seven unbeaten, helping his team win the North Dakota title. It was Paige’s first experience playing for an integrated team in the United States.

Paige and Churchill had agreed that the pitcher would return to Bismarck in 1934, but instead Paige played for the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Colored House of David. Churchill convinced Paige to pitch for his team in 1935, and he responded with a 29-3 record, striking out 321 batters in 301 innings and walking just 16.

Because Bismarck was considered one of America’s best semi-pro teams, they were invited to attend the inaugural National Baseball Convention in Wichita, Kan. Bismarck has won all seven games they have played, and Paige has been the starting and winning pitcher in four of those Games. During the tournament, he struck out 60 batters, “a record that will probably never be broken.”

From 1936 to early 1948, Paige pitched for teams in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as for Black League teams and for independent barnstorming teams. On her 42nd birthday in 1948, Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck called Paige in for a tryout. Two days later, on July 9, he pitched his first game.

In the last three months of the season, Paige has played 21 games and was 6-1. At the end of the season, the Indians and Red Sox were tied for first place, and in the playoff game, the Indians won, taking home the American League pennant. I think it’s safe to say that the Indians wouldn’t have won the pennant if Paige hadn’t been on the team.

Satchel Paige 1949 Bowman Gum Baseball Card.  Public domain / Wikimedia Commons / Forum Special

Satchel Paige 1949 Bowman Gum Baseball Card. Public domain / Wikimedia Commons / Forum Special

Paige stayed with the Indians in 1949, but at the end of the season, Veeck was forced to sell the team in order to pay for her divorce settlement, and Paige was released by the new owner. In 1950, Paige returned to her barnstorming days, earning $ 800 per game. One of the teams he played for was the Minot Mallards of the Mandak League. He pitched three scoreless innings in each of his three games with the Mallards. In mid-1951, Veeck bought an 80% stake in the St. Louis Browns and he signed another contract with Paige in July.

In 1952, Paige was part of the Browns’ starting rotation, and he was so effective that he was named to the All-Star team, “making him the first black pitcher on an All-Star League team.” American ”. Paige has been the Browns’ top pitcher this season, going 12-10 with a 3.07 earned-run average on a team that went 64-80. He set two more records this season, becoming the oldest pitcher to pitch a shutout and the oldest pitcher to pitch a full game.

In 1953, Paige was named to the All-Star Team again, becoming the oldest player to appear in the Summer Classic. At the end of the season, Veeck had to sell his team and Paige was released.

In 1954 and 1955, Paige returned to barnstorming until Veeck bought the Miami Marlins from the International League. Veeck signed Paige who remained a starting pitcher for the Marlins for three seasons, believing he could still pitch at the major league level.

In 1965, he was contacted by Charles O. Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to start a game against the Boston Red Sox on September 25. He pitched three innings with a hit, putting out a batter, before hanging up his major league glove for the last time.

Oldest “position player” to debut in the majors

When Quincy Trouppe first crouched behind the plate on April 30, 1952, during a game for the Cleveland Indians, he became, at the age of 39, “the oldest man in the world. occupy a position, other than pitcher, in his debut in the major league. “Later that season, Trouppe broke into the record books for the second time while he was behind the plate when Sam Jones entered the game as a relief pitcher, forming ‘the first black battery ( pitcher and catcher) in American League history ”.

Trouppe was a young all-star receiver in the Black Leagues when he was recruited by Churchill to play for his Bismarck team in 1933. Trouppe could strike for average and with power, but his most valuable assets were his catching skills. He always called a good game, knew his pitchers’ strengths and hitter’s weaknesses, and had a “rocket arm,” allowing him to throw quick base thieves frequently.

The Bismarck Tribune called him “the Babe Ruth of colored baseball”. In 1933, “it was Trouppe who encouraged Paige” to join the Churchill baseball team. Trouppe remained at Bismarck until 1937 when he decided to retire from baseball and focus on his boxing career.

In the summer of 1935, Trouppe returned home to St. Louis where he enjoyed some success as a heavyweight boxer, winning several local championship fights and the Golden Gloves tournament. In 1937 he became a good friend of Archie Moore, later world heavyweight boxing champion. Moore was impressed with Trouppe’s skills as a boxer, but he saw one thing that would limit his success. Moore told him, “Quincy, I don’t think you can be a fighter. You are just too nice. You are not the mean type. You have the punch. You move faster than the heavyweight average and have a real, crisp left shot. But you are not mean.

In 1938, Trouppe returned to baseball playing in the Black and Mexican leagues from 1938 to 1952. In 1952 he was signed by the Indians, and after playing only six games, Trouppe was released and shortly became after a scout and baseball owner. of a restaurant.

We will continue the story of the North Dakota baseball players who set MLB records next week.

“Did You Know That” is written by Curt Eriksmoen and edited by Jan Eriksmoen of Fargo. Send your comments, corrections or column suggestions to Eriksmoens at [email protected]


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