Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Satchel Paige, Aunt Freda and Woody Allen

When I started thinking about photographing along the KC Snapshot path (get a path map here) I made a list of pictures I wanted to take. First was a picture of the house I grew up in. And second was the Satchel Paige Memorial Stadium. As a kid I was a huge baseball fan. I learned to love the game from my Aunt Freda. Whenever I stayed at her house during the summer we'd sit out on her screened-in porch and listen to our team, the Kansas City Athletics, on the radio. I'd drink coke and she'd have her can of Schlitz beer that she poured into a small juice glass. She and my Uncle would tell me baseball stories, and the ones about Satchel Paige were favorites--his pitching styles, his rules to live by.
Woody Allen, a hero of mine, named one of his children Satchel after Satchel Paige, and has written eloquently about his memories of the famous pitcher:

'Satchel Paige was a hero of mine. I was a great baseball fan and it was fun when Satchel Paige emerged into the big leagues. By then he was way, way past his prime. But all that prejudice, and all that racial bigotry in the United States, which has been one of the hallmarks of our country since its inception, robbed America of seeing an athlete who may have been comparable to Michael Jordan in his time. So we only got to enjoy Satchel Paige in the last years of his professional career, when he got into the big leagues, because in the Negro Leagues you wouldn't have heard of him. But if we hadn't had such a thing as a Negro League, and if black players had always been in sports, sports would have been much, much richer and we would have seen Satchel Paige in his prime. It's our loss.'

Satchel Paige died June 8, 1982 in Kansas City and is buried here in Forest Park Cemetery.

Mike Sinclair


Dan M. said...

Ah...I played at this stadium when I played American Legion baseball. I have recently wondered what the future of baseball will be for kids (with regard to playing--not watching). My childhood was dominated by baseball...both organized games and un-organized pickup games (un-organized much funner). Last saturday I drove by an athletic complex in Belton...beautiful sunny day...not a soul on either of the perfectly mowed baseball diamonds. This must be symptommatic of something...maybe Hesse can figure it out.

Mike Sinclair said...

One thing they are doing at SP Stadium this summer is the RBI (return baseball to the inner city) Program. Run by the Boys and Girls Club and the Royals, It's an attempt to get kids in the inner city more interested in baseball.

Here's a link to the program-

Mike S

Josh Shelton said...

Nothing to do with Paige or baseball... but to respond to dan m... I spent a good part of last Saturday trying to buy a porch swing... and not just the hardware store variety... but ANY kind... swing and miss. I tried seven locations between 31st and the plaza... Westlake, Strausser, Eddie Bower, Restortion Hardware, etc (I refused to drive to Lowes). Found LOTS of "patio" furniture, but not a single swing. This must also be symptommatic of something. I did start looking for them on porches and saw plenty, but no one seems to think they sell anymore.(?) Since when did porch swings and little league baseball start to fade in the urban hoods? Didn't see to much patio furniture on the porches... Probably all in the back yards .