Some older folk may remember a pitching performance Paige put on in Lafayette in the days when the semi-pro Big Chiefs were packing fans of all colors into Bull Stadium near Four Corners. Some of them found Paige's capacity for soup just as impressive as his fastball.
Paige started his career in 1924 in Mobile and went on to become an indestructible pitcher in the Negro League. He was not only good, he was durable--starting 29 games in one month when he was playing for Bismarck, N.D. He claimed to have won 104 of 105 games he started in 1934.
He didn't move up to the major leagues until 1948 when Bill Veeck brought him up at the end of the season to give the Cleveland Indians pitching strength for the pennant race. That made Paige the oldest rookie ever to play in the major leagues. He retired from the majors in 1953 but came back as a lark to pitch three innings in a game in 1965, when he was 59 years old. That made him the oldest player ever in the majors.
Paige came to play in an exhibition in Lafayette in June or July of 1946, and he told the Big Chiefs manager, the late Wallace Mouton, that he really wanted a bowl of good mock turtle soup.
As the story has been handed down, Mouton and team owner Forrest Langlinais made arrangements with the owners of Poor Boy's Riverside Inn (which was then where the Hilton is now) to open one of its dining rooms to Paige and the team--something unheard of in those days of segregation.
They closed the doors between two dining rooms, shutting one off from the white diners, whom they were afraid might take offense. It turned out that when the white diners heard that the famous Satchel Paige was on the other side of the closed door, they rushed into the closed-off room to meet him and to ask for his autograph.
Mouton later recalled that some of the white diners even went home to get their kids so that they could see the pitching great,
Paige took it all in stride. He was known as a great storyteller. (He once said, "Mother always told me, 'if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else.'")
He regaled his audience for an hour or more with stories of his travels and travails, and at the same time consumed eight large bowls of mock turtle soup.
Paige visited again in 1974 when the Texas League Lafayette Drillers put on an Old-Timer's game. Bob Feller also appeared in that game.
There's no report of what or how much Paige ate then.
You can contact Jim Bradshaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.