Theodore Roosevelt Page
Nicknames: Ted, Terrible Ted
Positions: rf, 1b
Teams: Toledo Tigers (1923), Buffalo Giants (1924-1925), Newark Stars (926), Chappie Johnson's All-Stars (1927-1928), Mohawk Giants (1928), Brooklyn Royal Giants (1929-1930), Baltimore Black Sox (1929-1930), Homestead Grays (1930-1931), New York Black Yankees (1932), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932-1934), Newark Eagles (1935), Philadelphia Stars (1935-1937)
Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 175
Born: 1903, Glasgow, Kentucky
Died: December 1, 1984, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
A tough competitor, Ted Page could beat you at the plate, on the bases, or in the field. A good bunter and a slashing base runner, he used his speed to his greatest advantage. Bullheaded and aggressive, he played to win and would intimidate a player with his spikes or with rough language. The hard-playing outfielder had the distinction of playing on two of the greatest teams in black baseball history, the 1931 Homestead Grays and the 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords.
With the Crawfords Ted was a teammate of Satchel Paige, but when on opposing teams, it was a different story. With a bat in Ted's hand, Satchel became his "cousin." He also hit other pitchers, as evidenced by his averages of .352 and .362 for the 1932-1933 Pittsburgh Crawfords, his lifetime .335 average in black baseball, and his .429 average in exhibitions against major-leaguers.
Page was reared in Youngstown, Ohio, and as a youngster was an all-around athlete, earning an offer of a football scholarship to Ohio State as a halfback. But he declined the opportunity, choosing to concentrate on baseball. After leaving high school he signed with the Toledo Tigers in 1923 but was quickly released and played with semi-pro teams around Ohio before spending two years with the Buffalo Giants, managed by "Home Run" Johnson. Each winter Johnson took the aspiring outfielder to Palm Beach, Florida, to play with the Breakers Hotel team in the hotel league, where his ability was eventually noticed, and he was recruited by both the Homestead Grays and the New York Lincoln Giants but signed with the Newark Stars, a new Eastern Colored League team, in 1926.
He was the regular center-fielder, batting in the sixth slot, but unfortunately the team disbanded in mid-July. After stops with Chappie Johnson's All-Stars and the Brooklyn Royal Giants, he joined the Grays in 1931, where he batted second and hit .315 as the regular right-fielder. He had joined the Grays a year earlier in the spring but left after only a few weeks to return to the Royals.
While with the Grays, he and roommate George Scales were involved in an argument, and the exchange of words led to an incensed Page knocking out two of Scales's teeth and Scales responded by cutting Page with a knife. George "Chippy" Britt, one of baseball's "big bad men," separated the two antagonists, but they were still distrustful of each other when they retired that night. Both players spent a sleepless night in bed, each turned facing the other, Scales with a knife under his pillow and Page with a gun in his hand.
The next day the players resolved their differences, and by the following season both players were with new teams. Page began the year as the left-fielder for the New York Black Yankees in their first year of existence, hitting in the third spot in the lineup, until he jumped to Gus Greenlee's Pittsburgh Crawfords during the season. During his three-year stint in Pittsburgh, Page worked in the off-seasons at the Crawford Grill as a lookout for Greenlee's numbers racket.
In 1934 Page injured his knee sliding into a base while playing a game in Jackson, Mississippi, and the injury robbed him of his speed. In 1935 he was released by the Crawfords and signed with the Newark Eagles, but he was released again in mid-May and was signed this time by Webster McDonald to play with the Philadelphia Stars. Even with the loss of his speed, he could still hit, as evidenced by his .329 batting average in 1935. A line-drive hitter, he usually batted either second or sixth, but in 1937, when Jud Wilson took over the Stars' managerial reins, he installed Page as his lead-off batter, and the right-fielder responded with a .351 batting average in his last season in the Negro Leagues.
Shortly after leaving baseball, he began working at a bowling alley owned by former Stars teammate Jack Marshall, and within a few years Page owned the business himself. He became a prominent person in bowling circles and even wrote a regular bowling column for a newspaper for many years. After living in retirement for several years, he was beaten to death with a ball bat in an attempted burglary.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.