They called me Satchel ‘cause I moved around so much,
Carryin’ a bunch-a- bags of clothes slung over my shoulder,
Playing the game I loved wherever I could,
Stayin’ in flea-bag segregated hotels — and what’s the use of complainin’?
They talked about my skills and all them types of pitches
That I threw – fast, slow, straight, curved — and my special
Hesitatin’ windup, throwin’ all them batters off their balance so bad
That they swung half an hour ‘fore the ball hit the catcher’s mitt.
Yeah, I was skilled, and beatin’ the good ones like Josh Gibson
(Struck him out on three straight pitches, I recall) and I did
The same against them Major Leaguers more than once —
But here’s the thing: I didn’t need to prove how good I was.
I knew exactly who I was all the time just by lookin’
In the mirror every day. I was baseball’s greatest showman,
Always in the center ring, always in the spotlight — and I made sure
I never disappointed any crowd (or any teammate, for that matter).
I put on a show from my first appearance to my last, in 1965,
When I was fifty-nine years young and threw three innings for the K. C. A’s
— Gave up one lousy hit! People’d come for miles around to see my act
And I’d never disappoint. It was in my blood, and I never shied away
From that old spotlight — ‘cause I was Satchel Paige and everyone
Who knew about the game understood: it was the show that mattered.
Hey, maybe that’s the reason when they talk about the Majors
Those in the know now call it The Big Show!