Negro Leagues and Major League Baseball pitching legend Leroy “Satchel” Paige’s former home will soon be restored. The City announced the winning proposal to redevelop the house at 2626 E. 28th St. on August 9.
The Paige family home in the Santa Fe Neighborhood was heavily damaged by fire in 2018. To protect and preserve it from future calamity, the Kansas City, Mo., Homesteading Authority (KCMHA) purchased the home in 2019.
The home was granted $150,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, through local partner Historic KC, to fund repair and stabilization of the structure. The local group Pitch Perfect KC is leading redevelopment efforts, which includes a partnership with the Kansas City Royals.
City leaders, project representatives and members of the Paige family discussed the future of this historic community asset, and Paige’s National Baseball Hall of Fame plaque was also displayed.
Through coordination with the neighborhood, members of the Paige family, and other stakeholders, a vision is being crafted that will make this a community asset for many years to come, according to the City. This effort will include capturing past stories of Paige from people across the nation.
“The full story of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige’s life is filled with lessons for all of us,” said Vincent Paul Gauthier, Managing Developer for Pitch Perfect KC. “From very humble beginnings to his legendary successes as an athlete, entrepreneur, family man, and a friend in need, the longtime home of this 20th century icon will now serve as a place to share his true impact and hopefully continue to inspire future generations.”
Paige bought the home in 1950 and lived there until 1982, just before his death. Welcomed by a large masonry porch highlighted by three white arches, the three-story home was built in 1910.
“This historic space is such an important part of Kansas City and the Santa Fe Neighborhood,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “We were honored to accept the grant from the National Trust and work with so many other important partners to make this redevelopment effort possible.”
The KCMHA selected the winning redevelopment proposal after recommendations from Historic Kansas City, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Santa Fe Area Council.
Paige made his debut with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1935 playing one season before moving to the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and then returned for seven years from 1940-47, winning the Negro Leagues World Series in 1942.
Many believed that Paige would be the first Black player in the MLB, but teams were wary about his 40-year-old arm. In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first. During the 1948 season the Cleveland Indians, on the hunt for a pennant, looked for a pitcher to shore up their bullpen. Paige fit that need perfectly, and as a 41-year-old rookie pitcher he went on to win six games and become the first African American to pitch in the MLB World Series.
Paige went on to play four more major league seasons with Cleveland and the Saint Louis Browns, and even pitched in minor league games after those seasons. When called upon by the Kansas City A’s in 1965 to make an emergency pitching appearance at the age of 58, he threw three shutout innings.
Fifty years ago, on August 9, 1971, Paige became the first electee of the Committee on Negro Baseball Leagues to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.