Thursday, December 4, 2014

Yes, my '65T Paige custom card is an anachronism

This is my fifth Satchel Paige custom card (previous cards have been 1935 Diamond Stars, 1951 and 1952 Bowman and 1952 Topps). And, yes, it is something of an anachronism.

While Paige did pitch his final game as a major leaguer -- after a 12-year layoff -- he appeared so late in the season that Topps couldn't have included a baseball card of him in its 1965 set.

Sure, if they had been so inclined, the bubblegum company could have issued a 1966 Paige card, but they didn't; and I chose not to go with that format. I simply prefer the 1965 style.

Topps may well have chosen not to do a '66 Paige card because his appearance on the mound for the Kansas City A's the previous season was strictly a money/publicity grab by Charlie Finley.

When Paige ambled to the mound at Municipal Stadium on Sept. 25, 1965, to start the A's penultimate home game, a Saturday night affair, last-place K.C. was 57-97; 40 games behind the Twins. They were facing the ninth-place (37.5 games out) Boston Red Sox.

Bringing Paige back to the majors in the city where he made his home and where he had starred throughout the 1940s for the Monarchs of the Negro American League, proved to be a fiscal home run for Finley. The attendance was 9,289. That number was greater than the total attendance (9,199) for the other six games in the A's final home stand against the Senators and BoSox. On Thursday afternoon, the A's had drawn only 690 on Washington's get-away day.

All in all, it can be said Paige had a successful major league finale. He pitched his contracted-for three innings (that was his standard appearance for most of his barnstorming and exhibition games in those days). While he didn't figure in the decision, he shut the Boston club out. Don Mossi took the 2-5 loss against Bill Monbouquette.

A double in the top of the first by Carl Yastrzemski was the only hit Paige gave up. He walked nobody and set the Red Sox down in order in the second and third innings. He had one strikeout, pitcher Bill Monbouquette, who himself had struck out Paige to end the home half of the second inning.

Finley had played up the spectacle of Paige (probably 59) becoming the oldest player ever in a major league game. He had a big ol' rocking chair for Satch next to the A's dugout, and a pretty "nurse" to rub down the pitcher's salary wing between innings. Speaking of which . . . I haven't found mention of what Finley had paid Paige. He had been signed as a free agent on Sept, 10, and was released after the season, on Oct. 15.

Surprisingly there are not a lot of color photos of Paige in a 1965 K.C. uniform; at least I haven't found them. But the profile portrait I chose is certainly acceptable for my faux '65T custom.

I am, by no means, done making Satchel Paige custom cards. On my to-do list is a remake of my 1952 Bowman-style, and I'm also planning a 1953 Red Man and a 1956 Topps minor league custom.


  1. If you believe Bill Veeck, Paige was born before 1900. Veeck had to research his age, and recounted it all in "Veeck as in Wreck"

  2. I've read Veeck's book, as well as the more recent biography. I also read contemporary accounts of Paige in The Sporting News. I tend to think Veeck was engaging in a publicity ploy with his quest to find Paige's real age. I believe has the correct birthdate - July 7, 1906 - and that Topps had it wrong. For my card I chose to use the Topps date.


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