Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Wisdom of Legendary Baseball Player Satchel Paige

When I was ten years old I was crazy about baseball. I played on the "Neosho Nurseries" Little League team and collected baseball cards. One of the cards was that of pitcher Satchel Paige. I wouldn't appreciate until much later just how great a baseball player he was.

I wish I still had all those cards. Sixty years later, they'd be worth good money. But when I left home in 1963 to go to West Point I left all my loot behind - my complete collection of Elvis Presley records, a major stash of classic action comic books, and my baseball cards. I even had a baseball autographed by Mickey Mantle. I had seven younger brothers and sisters, though, and once I was gone it didn't take them long to trash all that stuff.

Satchel Paige was one of a kind. Like Jackie Robinson, he played in the Negro leagues and then the minor leagues before getting a chance to play in Major League Baseball. Of course, Jackie Robinson is famous for being the first black athlete to play in the major leagues. Satchel Paige entered a year later, in 1948. What's amazing is that in Paige's rookie year, he was 42 years old - much older than most baseball players are today when they retire! And Paige played major league ball for 17 more years, retiring at the age of 59.

In his prime, in the Negro leagues, Satchel Paige would often invite his entire infield to sit on the ground behind him while he struck out the side. This is the stuff legends are made of. A colorful character, he acted in a movie, "The Wonderful Country," starring Robert Mitchum. And with a ghost writer, he published an autobiography in 1962.

Today, I'm fond of Satchel Paige as much for his wisdom as his unprecedented baseball career. Here are some of my favorites:

AWARENESS - “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”

GRATITUDE - "Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."

OPTIMISM - “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”

PASSION - "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody is watching.”

SELF-DEVELOPMENT - "Ain't no man can avoid being born average, but there ain't no man got to be common."

SELF-ESTEEM - "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter."

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .

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