The 185-acre ranch just outside Paola comes with an 8,500-square-foot log cabin that looks like a luxury ski lodge in Vail; a restored horse barn that dates to 1890; and name-dropping rights about the owner who built it: retired Royals pitcher Kevin “Ape” Appier.
Known as Wea Creek Ranch, it can be yours for $4.5 million.
Enter the property through a traditional ranch gate and continue down a long driveway that leads past the old barn, a modest ranch home and outbuildings full of farm equipment, and the large house built from Douglas fir logs comes into view. A large stone sign with “Appier” carved into it welcomes visitors.
The right-hander played for the Royals from 1989 to 1999 and from 2003 to 2004, during which he garnered a 115-92 record and a 3.49 ERA. He had the home built in 1997 and added on to it in 2007.
Appier was superstitious as a player. At least once every inning while on the mound, he’d touch himself seven times on either his hair, hat or pants. Between innings, he’d drink a cup of Gatorade, holding the cup in his left hand (never the right hand) so the cup was facing toward the manager’s side. And even though there were multiple shower heads in the locker room, Appier would use only a specific one. If another player was using that particular shower head, Appier would wait.
So it’s no surprise that Wea Creek Ranch has its own quirky stories, including that it once housed a couple of camels.
Last year, while being inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame, former first baseman Mike Sweeney recalled how outfielder Jeremy Giambi flipped an all-terrain vehicle on Wea Creek Ranch during the 1999 season, landing him in the Paola hospital emergency room for staples in his head and stitches near his eye. Giambi, Sweeney and teammate Jed Hansen, who’d been along bass fishing in Appier’s lake, nearly missed a team flight headed for a game the next day.
The log home, which comes fully furnished, is pretty and luxurious, starting at the stone front porch, which is heated to prevent ice build-up during winters. Inside, the large foyer has slate tile and a low wood ceiling, as it’s situated beneath a loft. Then it opens onto a huge great room that features a two-story stone fireplace flanked by floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on rolling hills and a 17-acre lake, fully stocked with fish and outfitted with two boat docks.
The views are breathtaking. The Appiers see wildlife on the property all the time, says Lisa Burton, the listing agent with ReeceNichols, noting that she recently saw an eagle nesting on the property.
A large state-of-the art kitchen with dark wood cabinets, a square island and a table surrounded by three leather banquettes sits off to one side of the great room and leads to a dining room surrounded on three sides by windows. It has red flocked carpeting that looks way better in person than in photos and two chandeliers hanging over a custom dining table that seats 18.
The master suite is opposite of the great room. The cozy bedroom has a fireplace and sliding glass doors to the back deck. The master bathroom has a Champagne bubble standalone tub and a shower lined with stone tiles from Israel and steam/sauna settings.
The Appiers added a long dressing room with windows on two sides that runs from the master bath to a multistory garage. The lower level of the garage also has a gym, while the upper floor has a studio apartment with a full kitchen and bath.
Back in the main house, stairs in the foyer lead to the second floor with two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, and a loft space in between that overlooks the living room below.
A family room in the basement has another fireplace, a full bar, billiards table, air hockey table and an ornately carved, medieval door that opens onto a large wine refrigerator. A storage room off the family room features a dog bath, a safe and storm-proof doors. A guest bedroom on the opposite side of the basement has a tiny pot-belly stove that comes with the house.
A nearby laundry room has two washing machines, two dryers and a drying cabinet for fragile clothing that can’t be put in a typical dryer. A geothermal unit heats and cools the home.
In addition to the old barn, which has seven horse stables and a birthing stall, the ranch also has a 2,500-square-foot cottage with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Appier is also open to selling another 245 acres of land he owns surrounding Wea Creek Ranch to its new owners.