Satchel Paige: Age Is Mind Over Matter

Taylor RobinsonCorrespondent IApril 6, 2009

How old is too old? In the 21st century, sports fans have witnessed one athlete after another surpass that inevitable "too old" mark, yet still succeed in their individual sports.

While this phenomenon has been more highly publicized in recent years, it is important to realize that this isn't a new trend.

Leroy "Satchel" Paige was breaking the age barrier in the 1940s. It is rumored that Paige had his own opinions about age.

Whenever he was asked about his age in interviews he would respond, "Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

This statement does not come as much of a surprise when you look at this man's life.

Paige was a star in his own right long before he entered the Major Leagues. He came to be known as the best pitcher of the Negro Leagues.

In the years before he entered the Majors, Paige set records for scoreless innings and consecutive games won. However, it was his feats in the Major Leagues that gave him recognition.

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The birth date of Satchel Paige has been estimated to be July 7, 1906. This date has not been proven, and in all likelihood never will be.

Paige did not enter the Major Leagues until 1948, making him around 42 years old when he started. This made him the oldest rookie in the history of baseball.

From that point on, Paige compiled a record of 28-31 with a 3.29 ERA. He was 6-1 in his rookie season. It is said that he did not commit one error in 179 Major League games.

Even without staggering statistics, Paige made a name for himself. Joe DiMaggio called Paige the "best and fastest pitcher I've ever faced."

Paige retired from the Major Leagues in 1953 at about 47 years of age. He came back for a special appearance with Kansas City Athletics in 1965. At about 59 years old, Paige threw three shutout innings.

Paige once asked, "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"

I guess at 59 years old, Satchel Paige chose to forget his age and let his game do the talking. Paige proved to athletes everywhere that age, at least in the world of sports, is irrelevant.

Now, a couple of decades after the death of this baseball hero, athletes everywhere are following in his footsteps and choosing to ignore their age.

Here's to a true legend, from the moment he stepped on the mound.

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