Satchel Paige's All-Stars
My brother Norman, who had been playing ball in east Texas with a team out of Mineola called the Black Spiders, and I were back home in Oklahoma in the winter of 1938 when the Kansas City Monarchs called. They wanted Norman. My brother was an outstanding defensive center fielder with excellent speed and he was an excellent switch hitter, so I wasn't surprised he got the call. I was happy for him and knew someday I'd get my chance too. So Norman caught a train to New Orleans to join the Monarchs in the spring of 1939, and I headed back to Odessa. When the Monarchs needed another catcher, Norman reminded them of me, and they sent for me too.
When I arrived at training camp in New Orleans, I met with my old friend Newt Joseph who was now the player-manager of the Kansas City Monarchs' second team, the Satchel Paige's All-Stars. The Monarchs were one of the best teams in the Negro Leagues and the All-Stars, led by Satchel Paige, was their barnstorming B-team. Later that night Newt introduced me to the fellows. I guess I didn't have sense enough to be nervous. I knew that people had always praised my catching. And I wasn't afraid to catch anybody. I'd caught guys that threw harder than Satchel, although they didn't have his control. Satchel had the best control of anybody. And at that time Satchel wasn't throwing that hard anyway because he'd hurt his arm pitching in Mexico. That's the reason he wasn't with the Monarchs. The All-Stars was a way for him to get his arm back into shape and for the Monarchs to develop new ballplayers and, with Satchel's name on all the advertising posters, sell some tickets.