From the Richard Brooks Estate, this rediscovered 16mm film preserved by the Academy Film Archive features rare color footage of the legendary Satchel Paige pitching in an exhibition baseball game at Wrigley Field, Los Angeles on November 7, 1948.
As the footage begins, Paige takes the mound for the Royals, a barnstorming team of Negro League ballplayers. Many of the Royals players are members of the famed Kansas City Monarchs. Paige, who had been signed by the Major Leagues’ Cleveland Indians in the summer of 1948, wears his Cleveland uniform.
The Royals’ opponents are the Gene Bearden-Bob Lemon All-Stars, a team of Major Leaguers headed by Cleveland pitchers Bearden and Lemon. Rookie phenom Bearden appears in the footage, wearing uniform number 30.
Spectators in the stands include MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer, MGM musical producer Arthur Freed and producer William Goetz, Mayer’s son-in-law.
Los Angeles’ Wrigley Field opened in 1925 and was demolished in 1969. The ballpark was home to the Pacific Coast League’s Los Angeles Angels for over thirty seasons, the rival Hollywood Stars for eleven seasons, and the Major League California Angels for their inaugural season. Motion pictures and television shows filmed at the park include It Happens Every Spring (1949), Damn Yankees! (1958), Home Run Derby and many others.
Academy Award-winning writer-director Richard Brooks shot the original Kodachrome film.