Grant will help rebuild house of baseball great Satchel Paige
Kansas City, Mo. — A new grant will help rebuild the fire-damaged Kansas City, Mo., home of Satchel Paige, one of baseball’s legendary pitchers and showmen.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced more than $1.6 million in grants earlier this month for 22 sites and organizations to help preserve black history. Among the recipients was Historic Kansas City, which will receive $150,000 to rehabilitate the home where Paige once lived in the Santa Fe Neighborhood.
“It’s really about saving his legacy,” Historic Kansas City Executive Director Lisa Briscoe said. “This is the home where he lived a number of years and where he raised his family.”
Paige, born in Alabama in 1906, was among the most prominent and charismatic stars of the Negro League in the first half of the 20th Century, so talented that Ted Williams once called him the greatest pitcher in baseball. Because of the color barrier, Paige didn’t play in the Major Leagues until age 41. Even at that advanced age, he was a two-time All-Star, in 1952 and 1953 with the St. Louis Browns.
Negro League statistics are incomplete, but Paige was so good that he often attracted white spectators on barnstorming trips across the country. He gave his pitches colorful names such as “jump ball,” ”whipsy-dipsy-do,” and “bat dodger.”
Paige was among the first group of Negro League players elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, in 1971. He died in Kansas City in 1982.
Paige’s home, a traditional shirtwaist-style common in Kansas City, was badly damaged in a fire in 2018. Earlier this year, the Kansas City Homesteading Authority bought the home.
The grant money will be used to repair and stabilize the structure, Briscoe said. The next step would be to seek proposals to redevelop the home.