FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden Call Pope Francis ‘The Famous African-American Baseball Player In America’?
A video shared on Instagram alleges President Joe Biden called Pope Francis “the famous African-American baseball player in America.”
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Biden actually appeared to be referencing Satchel Paige, as part of a story about the baseball player and age.
Biden and Pope Francis on Oct. 29 met for roughly 75 minutes at the Vatican, Reuters reported. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Pope Francis Saying, ‘I Have A Secret Agenda To Deceive You’?)
Following their meeting, social media users started sharing a short clip of an exchange between the two. Text overlaying the clip reads, “Biden to Pope: ‘You’re the famous African-American baseball player in America.’”
The short video clip, however, does not accurately capture the entire interaction. While it’s difficult to hear the first part of Biden’s comment, transcripts and extended footage of the exchange indicate he was referencing Paige, a pitcher who joined the MLB in his 40s and was later inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
A transcript of a “Cuomo Prime Time” episode featuring the interaction between Biden and the pope quoted the president as saying, “There’s a famous African American baseball player in America.”
“And he didn’t get to play in the Major League Baseball until he was 45 years old because he was black. And he was a pitcher, he threw the ball. Usually pitchers lose their arm when they’re 35. He pitched a win on his 47th birthday,” Biden went on to say during his exchange with the pope, according to footage on C-SPAN. “The press walked into the locker room, and said – his name was Satchel Paige. They came in, and they said, ‘Satch, no one’s ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about pitching a win on your birthday?'”
Biden then attributed the following quote to Satchel: “Boys, that’s not how I look at age. I look at it this way: how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” The president concluded the story about Paige by joking about his and the pope’s ages (78 and 84, respectively), saying, “You’re 65, I’m 60,” according to CNN footage.