Larry Doby was signed by the Cleveland Indians 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and on July 5, 1947, he became the first African-American to play in an American League game.
Check out the video below for a detailed look into Larry Doby, his struggles and his successes.
While it cannot be 100% verified, it is widely believed that Leroy (Satchel) Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama on July 7, 1906. When asked about his age or birthdate Paige usually responded with whatever sounded good at the moment. "A goat ate my birth certificate" was one such response.
Satchel started his professional career with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1927. His control and accuracy were by far the best in the league and he quickly became the most domninant pitcher in the Negro Leagues.
In the early 1940's rumors began to circulate that black players would soon get the chance to play in the big leagues. The first call came for Jackie Robinson in 1945. Over the next couple of years managers would attend Satchel's games, leave impressed, but never placed that coveted call. They inevitably signed someone younger and supposedly more durable.
In 1948 Bill Veeck and the Cleveland Indians were heading into a pennant race. Veeck needed to bolster his pitching roster so the call that Paige had been waiting for finally came. After an informal tryout with Veeck, he was offered his first major league contract. At the approximate age of 42, Satchel became the oldest player to make his major league debut. In that first year with Cleveland he had a record of 6 - 1 with one save and an ERA of 2.48.
Paige pitched for six years in the majors, spending time with the Indians, Browns and Athletics. In 1971 he became the first player from the Negro Leagues to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He passed away in Kansas City in 1982.
"The best and fastest pitcher I ever faced." Joe DiMaggio