High atop the mound

He is among the greatest pitchers ever to have played the game of baseball. A Hall of Famer, despite having been blocked from the sport’s biggest stage for much of his career. But Leroy “Satchel” Paige was even more than that. A barrier-breaker. The first African American to pitch in the Major Leagues. A writer, raconteur, and ambassador. An icon of national pride and inspiration for the city and neighborhood he called home for much of his adult life. Kansas City.

Early Life

Born in Mobile, Alabama, into a family of 12 siblings, he gained the nickname “Satchel” as a young boy while working as a porter for the local railroad. A stint in reform school at age 13, for a shoplifting offense, proved a turning point in young Satchel’s life. There, on its large campus, he worked milking cows and in construction, went to classes, and joined the choir. And mastered the art of pitching under the tutelage of a coach and mentor who recognized Satchel’s unique talent. Satchel would later look back on that time with gratitude. “Those five and a half years there did something for me – they made a man out of me.” They also turned him into a generational pitching talent.

Career

Upon release from reform school at age 18, Satchel began the professional odyssey that would span more than 30 years and take him from semi-pro to the Negro Leagues to barnstorming and, ultimately, a newly integrating Major League Baseball. In addition to his exceptional skills, he was known for his flair, with a legendary windup and leg kick, and much-feared pitches he named himself, including “Midnight Creeper,” “Bat Dodger,” and “Bee-Ball.” Kansas City was at the center of Satchel’s career. It was here where spent more seasons than in any other location. Where he led the Kansas City Monarchs to a Negro League championship. And where, remarkably, at the age of 59, he pitched his final game, with the Kansas City Athletics.

Headed Home

Of course, Satchel Paige’s linkage to Kansas City extended well beyond the baseball diamond. At his home on 28th Street, in the historic Santa Fe neighborhood, beginning in 1950 and across four decades, he and his wife LaHoma built their life together. Raised a family of eight children. Hosted countless visiting celebrities, including Count Basie, Joe Louis, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Offered hospitality to Negro Leagues players who were unable to stay at many local hotels. Symbolized constancy and possibility for those in a sometimes-discordant community.

Legacy

Now, to honor Satchel’s legacy, and all he has meant to the history of our city and the ongoing aspirations of a neighborhood and a people, the restoration of the Satchel Paige House is within our reach. Pitch Perfect KC, in coordination with the Paige family and community leadership, has partnered with the nonprofit Leroy Satchel Paige Family Home Corp. to undertake the $3.5 million rebirth of this landmark site.

The effort to rebuild Satchel’s House to its full midcentury splendor will take time and resources. The years, and 2018 fire, have left the home unoccupied and in a state of disrepair. But with the energy unleashed by this new effort, and the support of the community, our opportunity to restore Satchel’s House is at hand. A living cultural asset, with historically restored rooms, state-of-the-art exhibits, office space, retail, and amenities for hosting a wide array of events.

Project Timeline

The journey to restore Satchel’s House is just beginning and is likely to last up to three years. It’s a journey that our community will undertake together, with the passion, determination and inclusivity required to bring so worthy an endeavor to its full realization.

Our team

The Pitch Perfect KC team comprises five Kansas Citians—Vincent Gauthier, Gary Abram, David Oliver, Robert Riccardi, and Marquita Brockman Taylor—combining decades of far-reaching expertise in business and legal matters, real estate, community development, architecture, and design. The team embodies a demonstrable track record of commitment to Kansas City, its neighborhoods, and a simple love of baseball. With a clear sense of purpose and the skills and relationships to bring this critical project to fruition, Pitch Perfect KC is committed to an inclusive process that engages and galvanizes the entire community in restoring Satchel’s Home and ensuring its permanent status as both a landmark honoring a legend, and a living cultural asset.

Vincent 
Gauthier

Gary 
Abram

David 
Oliver

Robert 
Riccardi

 Marquita
Brockman Taylor

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Satchel's Story

Donations

To donate please reach out to Vincent Gauthier or Marquita Brockman Taylor at info@SatchelsHouse.org.