Baseball legend Satchel Paige's former home burns, investigators looking into arson

Baseball  legend Satchel Paige's former home at 2626 E. 28th St., burned early Tuesday.
Baseball legend Satchel Paige's former home at 2626 E. 28th St., burned early Tuesday. Matt Campbell, The Kansas City Star

Investigators are looking into whether a fire that destroyed the former Kansas City home of baseball legend Satchel Paige was arson.

There were signs that an accelerant may have been used in the early morning fire at 2626 E. 28th St. The house, which had been vacant for years, was Paige's home until he died in 1982 at age 75.

Paige was a pitcher and hall of famer for the Negro Leagues and for Major League Baseball. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs, the Kansas City Athletics and other teams.

"It's devastating not only for my family but for Kansas City as well," Paige's daughter, Linda Shelby, said Tuesday morning. "You can imagine your childhood home going up in flames. The home is destroyed but the memories are not."

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, said Paige's home was frequented by the legends of baseball.

"The house at one point was majestic," Kendrick said. "It matched his (Paige's) personality. In many ways he was larger than life. He was the Negro Leagues. There will never be another Leroy "Satchel" Paige. It was a tremendous source of pride that he lived there."

Kendrick said the house was not listed on any historical register but that over the years, he and others dreamed of someday doing something with it to remember Paige's legacy. There never was enough money, however.

Neighbors said they occasionally had to call police over squatters at the property, which has not been in the Paige family for years.

The current owner, Brian Cushon, said Tuesday that his mother had purchased the property and it had passed to him. He said he had intended to put some work into the house. Jackson County property records show the house had a market value of $17,250 and an assessed value of $3,278.

"It was in decent condition," Cushon said.