By Brianna Lyman
President Joe Biden appeared to fumble his words Thursday and referred to baseball legend Satchel Paige as a “great negro” while giving remarks at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Veterans Day.
“I know you’re a little younger than I am,” Biden said, referring to Donald Blinken. “I’ve adopted the attitude of the great negro at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues who went on to become a great pitcher in the pro’s in Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.”
“And Satchel Paige, on his 47th birthday, pitched to win against Chicago, and all the press went in and said ‘Satch, it’s amazing, 47 years old. No one’s ever ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about being 47?’”
“He said, ‘boys, that’s not how I look at it.’ They said, ‘how do you look at it Satch?’ [and he said] ‘I look at it this way, how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’ I’m 50 years old and the ambassador is 47. But all kidding aside Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your service during World War Two as well as your service as an ambassador.” (RELATED: Biden Under Fire For Using The Word ‘Boy’ In Introduction Of Black Senior Adviser)
The Negro National League for baseball was formed in 1920 following Jim Crow laws that prevented black players from playing on white teams. Robinson was the first player from the Negro National League to be recruited in the Major League roster, signaling the decline of the Negro Leagues, according to Negro Leagues History.
Paige began his professional career in the Negro Leagues in the early 1920’s and was later signed to the Cleveland Indians in 1948. Paige was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 as the first player chosen by the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.