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Ernie Banks Faces Satchel Paige: Iowa Time Machine June 19, 1950

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On June 19, 1950, baseball all-time great Satchel Paige threw batting practice to Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks before the Kansas City Monarchs took on the Chicago Giants in an exhibition game at Pioneer Memorial Stadium. The only time the future MLB great faced off with one of baseball’s greatest pitchers, the moment stands as a unique aligning of the stars.

Satchel debuted for the Mobile Tigers before spending much of his peak years for the Chatanooga Black Lookouts on diamonds across America. So dominant he’d occasionally have his infielders sit down at their positions while he struck out the side, Paige waited for an opportunity to break into the major leagues. Signed by Cleveland in 1948, Paige finally got his chance to debut in the American League at the age of 42. Helping Cleveland to the World Series in his debut season, Paige continued to pitch professionally until after his 59th birthday. Released by Cleveland following the 1949 season, Paige spent the summer of 1950 appearing on the mound for the Des Moines Black Barons in two games before signing with the Kansas City Monarchs.

As Paige’s star started to set, a young shortstop from Texas was on the rise. Signed by the Monarchs for the 1950 season, the future National League MVP spent the summer opening the eyes of Major League scouts. Shortly after Banks joined the team, he stepped into the box at Pioneer Memorial Stadium (later renamed Sec Taylor Stadium) in Des Moines to take a few cuts from the legendary Paige during batting practice.

While Banks relayed his memory of taking batting practice off Paige in Des Moines in an interview, Mr. Cub didn’t relay how he fared off the immortal arm of Paige. Not covered in the newspaper, the event goes down as one of the greatest ‘you just had to be there’ moments in both Iowa and baseball history. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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