The column reads:
Paige Fell Into the River
LEROY SATCHEL PAIGE, looking dapper in a gray garbadine suite and minus an overcoat despite the chilly spring weather, spent the weekend in Chicago. With Paige was his close friend and adviser, J.L. Wilkinson, former owner of the Kansas City Monarchs.
Wilkinson has been in baseball for 50 years. He started out in his old home town, Angola, Iowa, playing shortstop for his high school team and then attended Highland Park college in Des Moines.
Angola is the town which was the home of the Angola Brownies back in the early 1900s. Chappie Johnson was a member of that club. Most of the fans of the present day don't know that wilkinson owned a team called the "All Nations" on which there were several different nationalities, also southern white and some Negro ball players. John Donaldson, now a scout for the Chicago American League, the White Sox, can tell you about them. The team traveled in a private Pullman car.
Wilkinson relates that he was called before the minor league meeting "years and years ago," as he put it. The gathering was in Oklahoma City. The magnets had heard of his All Nations team. How did they travel? How did the white southern players get along with Negroes?
HE WAS frank in telling them he hadn't the slightest bit of trouble. "Why, they get along fine - same as if they were all the same race." was his answer. That meeting was along about the time that the late Chicago Defender's founder, the late Robert S. Abbott, was hammering away for an opportunity for Negro players in the major league and declaring that it could never be called an "American pastime" as long as a player was denied an opportunity to show his ability because his skin was black. And it was long before Branch Rickey, Sr., appeared on the scene.
"I am not trying to take anything away from Rickey because he did push the door wide open when he signed Jackie Robinson, who was playing shortstop on my club at the time." He added that nothing came out of the meeting with the minor leaguers.
WITH SATCHEL seated across the table from us, the talk turned to fishing. Satchel was enjoying a large order of black bass. Although Paige, who pitched in the first East vs. West game, tried to keep Wilky (as Wilkinson is affectionately called) off the fishing subject, Wilkinson let the cat out of the bag.
"You never heard that Satch is some fisherman, did you?" queried Wilkinson. No, we hadn't, other than hearing Leroy spin some yarns about having caught some large channel catfish. "You mean he never told you about him falling into the river?" Nope, we hadn't known anything about that one. "What river?" we asked, believing it was some joke, so if we were expected to "bite," we would just go on and get caught. But we did notice Satchel shifting his position. Wilkinson laughed. He got a big kick out of it - the yarn which Satchel admitted finally was true.
Seems like Satchel showed up in New York with an aluminum boat tied to the top of his car. What he was going to do with it, Wilkinson didn't quite understand at the time. Inside was a high priced motor. The next thing Wilkinson knew was that Mr. Paige had gone and got himself plunked into the middle of the Hudson river - believe it or not.
"No, - not Paige," we said. Paige looked rather sheepishly. "Yes, me, and with all my clothes on, too." How come? The motor had stalled and Paige (so he says) was trying to get it started when all of a sudden the darn thing gave a kick and into the river went Paige. Could he swim? "Well, you see I'm here, don't you?" Paige smilingly said. "What about those two fellows who helped get you out?" Paige explained that there were two men in another boat nearby who stayed near him to help if necessary if he went down the third time was the way he explained it.
THE TALK THEN turned to baseball. Paige will work out with the Chicago American Giants in Meridian, Miss. in April. He says with his bad teeth having been extracted, he feels better than at any time during the past 15 years. He glories in the fact that he had a great season barnstorming in 1950- and had a nine-inning no-hit game to his string of wins. Paige, a close friend of W.S. Welch, manager-owner of the Chicago club, quickly decided to do his spring training with Welsh's outfit.