KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Family members of a baseball legend want to protect their father’s legacy.
Surviving family members of Leroy “Satchel” Paige, who passed away in 1982, are pleased that their east Kansas City home may soon be revitalized. However, they want a say in how the house, which sits near 28th and Prospect, is used to honor Paige.
The five-bedroom home where Paige helped raise eight children may soon get a shot at new life. The crumbling house has been in disrepair for years, certainly since a fire gutted the home in 2018. A chain link fence surrounds the large house, and there are signs of vandalism to the building.
“We basically want to protect his legacy,” Linda Paige Shelby, one of Paige’s daughters, said Friday.
Kansas City’s Homestead Authority owns the house nowadays. The Paige family is concerned about a city-driven plan to request bids from the public — ideas for using the house to properly honor Paige, who played most of his celebrated career in the Negro Baseball Leagues during the era of racial segregation. The city’s plan also seeks sources of money to fund the house’s forthcoming new life.
Shelby said the family wants to be a co-owner in the house’s future and have a say in how it’s used.
“I would ask the city what they paid for it, and we would beat that — whatever the city paid to acquire the property,” Shelby said.
Shelby said Paige’s loved ones would like to use the house as a combo corporate meeting space and museum — space to honor his baseball contributions. Shelby said it’s what her father wanted, and it would help revitalize the Santa Fe neighborhood in east Kansas City.
John Baccala, a spokesperson for Kansas City’s Department of Neighborhoods and Housing Services, said the Homesteading Authority is working with the Santa Fe Neighborhood Association to iron out the request for proposals. Baccala said the city also yearns for the proper was to honor Paige.
“We would like to continue to have conversations with the Paiges, but we want to do what’s best for this property and do what’s best for Satchel Paige’s legacy,” Baccala said.
Shelby said she’s not confident in the city’s intention to properly honor her father.
East Kansas City is also home to a school and municipal baseball field named to honor Satchel Paige. Shelby is frustrated that both of those structures have gone through their periods of ill-repair.
“It’s not a money-grab. He’s been our father forever. We just want to protect his legacy,” Shelby added.
Shelby and her siblings have started a GoFundMe account, meant to raise funds to help their effort to purchase the old house and turn it into the conference center their dad wanted.