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Few know that the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige, played an exhibition series at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium in 1965.
Essays: Why I love Alaska 020117 AE 1 Capital City Weekly Few know that the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige, played an exhibition series at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium in 1965.
Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Story last updated at 2/1/2017 - 1:12 pm

Essays: Why I love Alaska

Alaska’s Little-known History

Few know that the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige, played an exhibition series at Anchorage’s Mulcahy Stadium in 1965. Paige had pitched his way to stardom in the segregated National Negro League, and became the oldest rookie in the Major League after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Indeed, 1965 was a turbulent year in America. Civil Rights demonstrators marched from Selma to Montgomery; Congress passed the Voting Rights Act.

But in Alaska, fans came out to welcome Satchel Paige.

Rumor even had it that the legendary pitcher might manage a team named for the great Alaska earthquake that rattled the city just a year ago. “I loved Anchorage at first sight,” Paige told the Daily News-Miner, “and I’m the man who can build this team up. I’m the man who knows the baseball players and can get them to come up here to play.”

Paige’s promise to start building the new Anchorage Earthquakers “the minute he left Alaska” never panned out, but his presence in Alaska helped to draw interest in the new Alaska Baseball League, which would go on to spawn some of the best ball players in Major League Baseball, including Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, David Winfield and Randy Johnson.

Dr. Katie Ringsmuth specializes in America, public, and environmental history. She is a contract historian for Lake Clark Katmai National Parks in Southwestern Alaska,and past president of the Alaska Historical Society.