The Hall of Fame
Satchel and I talked about Cooperstown several times, and he had mixed feelings about going into the Hall of Fame. He was slightly bitter about the time it had taken for him to get into the Hall of Fame. And at first he felt that they were trying to bring him in the back door because they weren't going to put him in the regular Hall of Fame. He didn't think that was right. He told me, "I don't know no back door Hall of Fame." He said it reminded him of how little things had changed since he first started playing baseball in Chattanooga back in the twenties. That was his first try at organized ball. He pitched a couple of games; then they told him he couldn't stay with the club. He said the manager told him he'd hate to seem him go because he felt he could pitch and win for the team. The manager said, "You did everything I thought you could do, but your color's got you. We can't keep you."
"You mean to tell me," Satchel asked him, "I can't stay and pitch, something I want to do, because my skin is black?"
"I hate to see you go as bad as you hate to see you go," the manager said.
Satchel said he was so upset that he talked to his mother about it. He ended up playing for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts.
Anyway the Hall of Fame people changed their minds and decided that Satchel belonged right there with the other ballplayers. He called me in 1971 when he finally did go in and brought me his Hall of Fame card and signed it. I hear that card's worth some money now, but I'd never get rid of it.