The Paige Pitch (Diet for Dreamers)

Share
Never let your head hang down.  Never give up and sit down and grieve.  Find another way.  And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. —Satchel Paige

He attracted record crowds wherever he pitched, and for close to 15 years and throughout countless innings, he was considered “unhittable”! Today, decades after he reigned on the pitcher’s mound, his fastball is still the stuff of legend. According to a 2010 article in Sports Illustrated, Leroy “Satchel” Paige (July 7, 1906 to June 8, 1982) was “perhaps the most precise pitcher in baseball history — he threw ludicrously hard. And he also threw hundreds and hundreds of innings.”

In 1971, Paige was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame — the first African-American player to earn the distinction. In 1981, veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr. portrayed the pitcher in the biopic Don’t Look Back. In 1999, Paige was ranked Number 19 on a list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players. And in 2006, he was further honored when a statue of Satchel Paige was unveiled in Cooper Park, in Cooperstown, New York.

But of far greater interest, Paige was positive proof that sometimes dreams can take years to completely achieve — but you’re never too old to pursue them! The world-famous pitcher had practiced, played, and pursued baseball since he was 10 years old, batting around discarded bottle caps with a stick, always dreaming about the diamond sport. His mother once commented that Satchel would rather “play baseball than eat. It was always baseball, baseball.” And yet, it took nearly four decades for him to make the big leagues!

Along the way, Satchel encountered a few bumps in the road to success. He earned his nickname as a kid, while carrying luggage at a train station. Because he could only earn a dime for each bag he carried, the youth devised a clever means of making more money to help support his struggling family: he would place two bags at each end of a sturdy pole, and then carefully lift the pole to his shoulders. Walking through the station while balancing the weight of four bags was backbreaking work! And one of his fellow porters remarked that Paige looked like a tree that was growing satchels!

There were other, moral and emotional, struggles the youth faced. After frequently skipping school and occasionally shoplifting, Paige was arrested at age 13 and committed to reform school — for five years. But the determined dreamer spent those years practicing baseball with a savvy Alabama coach who helped Paige develop a great deal of his pitching strategy. Talk about God working all things together for good! (Romans 8:28)

Satchel Paige once said, “…Age is a state of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”

Paige also had to deal with racism and bigotry. Throughout the 1920s and 30s he played only in the “Negro Leagues.” He also pitched in exhibition games for barnstorming teams across the United States; and he even played baseball in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. But it wasn’t until 1948 that he signed his first big league contract, for $40,000 with the Cleveland Indians. Thus, at the age of 42, Paige became the oldest major league rookie in baseball!

The journey to fulfilling his dream had been long and difficult, but Paige felt he was still “young” enough to make the most of his success. He played baseball until he was 60! In fact, even after his “retirement,” he stayed active in a variety of pursuits. He published his autobiography, coached, made appearances on TV game shows, and even ran (unsuccessfully) for a Missouri state assembly seat.

And in 1969, at 63, Paige returned to the mound for an exhibition game. Between innings he sipped coffee in the bullpen while resting in a rocking chair. But during the game he showed his stuff — and struck out another baseball legend, Don Drysdale!

Satchel Paige always pursued his life and dreams with the enthusiasm of a young man. Whenever a reporter would ask Paige about his advancing years, in regards to pursuing his love of baseball, the pitcher would simply reply, “If someone asked you how old you were — and you didn’t know your age — how old would you think you were?”

Have you been chasing a dream for years? Do you wonder if you’re getting too far along in life to ever catch it? Here’s a thought we’d like to pitch to you. We call it the The Paige Pitch: You’re only as old as you think — and you’re never too old to pursue your dreams!

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NLT)

“…The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32 ASV)

Share

Life, Lincoln and Lithographs: Setback or Comeback?

Share

How we face failure can determine our future success. If you’re a creator and you accept rejection or defeat as the end of the line, you’re not going to get very far in life. We can view failure either as an impassible roadblock, or simply as a detour.

No one ever plans to take a detour, but sometimes a detour can put us on a different track that leads to better places and bigger opportunities. Mistakes and false starts aren’t necessarily the worst thing that can happen to us. Losing heart and throwing in the towel IS!  T.D. Jakes once said, “A setback is a setup for a comeback!” This is certainly true in the case of a draftsman named Milton Bradley.

Bradley was born in Maine on November 8, 1836, and grew up in a working-class household in Massachusetts. After completing high school in 1854, Bradley quickly found work as a draftsman and patent agent. Once he’d earned the tuition fees, he enrolled in the Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge.

In 1856, Bradley got a job with Blanchard & Kimball’s locomotive works in Springfield, Massachusetts. A nice steady job with a good future — or so he thought. During the economic recession of 1858, the company offices closed, and Bradley suddenly found his career opportunities extremely limited. So he followed the example of other enterprising young men who couldn’t get a job: he entered business for himself — doing what he knew best, working as a mechanical draftsman and patent agent.

But there still was a recession! In 1859, Bradley went to Providence, RI to learn lithography. Armed with yet another skill, he set up a color lithography shop the following year, in Springfield. It was the first of its kind in the city, a business that just had to succeed. Or not! Bradley was about to encounter his greatest setback, and suffer a financial blow that might have signaled the end of his entrepreneurial career.

Springfield was the stomping ground — er, stumping ground? — of a little-known Republican who was about to run for president of the United States. Bradley decided to print and sell color lithographs of the presidential nominee, and the venture proved quite successful — initially. The prints were selling like hotcakes until the man depicted in Bradley’s lithographs did something that completely changed his appearance. The guy grew a thick and distinctively shaped beard. Suddenly, Bradley’s not-so-loyal customers were demanding their money back, arguing that the lithograph was no longer an accurate depiction of the man they all hoped would be their next Commander-in-Chief — Abraham Lincoln! Realizing the prints were now essentially worthless, Bradley burned his remaining stock.

HONEST, Abe! We like you BETTER with a beard!

While sitting in his office, trying to figure out how he could possibly recoup this financial loss, poor Bradley decided to give his fevered brain a little break, by playing a board game a friend had given him. Playing the game and contemplating the ups and downs of life, business and success, Milton Bradley suddenly got the idea that would forever change his fortunes and jumpstart a business that prospers to this day!

The draftsman-turned-patent agent-turned-lithographer created The Checkered Game of Life. He released his new board game shortly before Christmas in 1860. Its sales were AMAZING!

Today, people are still playing The Game of Life, along with other Milton Bradley Company games such as Operation and Battleship. All because a hard working entrepreneur chose to view a financial setback as an opportunity for a creative comeback!

“…The LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loved you.” (Deuteronomy 23:5 ESV)

Share