Fire and Flooding in Kansas City


Buck O’Neil Research and Education Center (the Paseo YMCA), Kansas City, MO

In the early hours of Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Kansas City firefighters were called to the former home of baseball great Satchel Paige. Initial news reports stated the house was “destroyed.” The fire is being investigated as arson.

On June 22, 2018, a water pipe was cut in the Buck O’Neil Research and Education Center, also in Kansas City, resulting in flooding on two floors of the building. Police called it “intentional property damage” with “malicious intent.”

Later on June 22, a water fountain pipe burst at the Negro League Baseball Museum (NLBM). At least that one seems to have caused little damage – and it doesn’t seem to have been done intentionally (so far).

At first I thought it was simply the conspiracy theorist in me that saw a connection between the first two events, but yesterday Natalie Wiener of the Bleacher Report asked the question I’d been thinking, “Who’s Trying to Destroy Negro League Landmarks in Kansas City?” While there’s no official word on whether the two incidents are linked, it’s interesting that the thought has crossed more than just one mind. But purposeful vandalism specifically targeting Negro League landmarks is too terrible to fathom. In her article, Wiener quotes Bob Kendrick, President of the NLBM, as saying, “’My gut tells me that there’s not a connection between the two, but I don’t really know. Maybe it’s because the human side of me says that surely nobody would target those two names intentionally to do something of this nature.’”

I certainly hope he’s right.

~ baseballrebecca