Sunday, April 13, 2014

Top 100 & KC Connections: 11—20

11. Satchel Paige • P • 1927—1965
Was the ultimate free agent, and probably played for more teams than any other player. But from 1941—47, he had a relatively steady run as a Kansas City Monarch (though he still occasionally pitched for other teams between Monarchs starts). Paige was loyal to the team after owner J.L. Wilkinson gave him a job at a time when his arm went dead in the late '30s. KC became his home for the second half of his life, and he even pitched three shutout innings for the KC A's in 1965 at the age of 59. His legacy remains strong in KC with Satchel Paige Field at Swope Parkway and 51st, Satchel Paige Elementary at Indiana and 75th, and his final resting place at Forest Hill Cemetery, Troost & Gregory.

12. Lou Gehrig • 1B • 1923—1939

Played in at least two exhibitions in KC: His Larrupin' Lou's faced the Bustin' Babe's on October 15, 1927. Gehrig and Ruth presented a refrigerator to Children's Mercy Hospital while in town. Gehrig also played in his last ever baseball game in KC on June 12, 1939. Gehrig had been inactive for six weeks due to a mysterious ailment, but gave it a go in an exhibition against the Blues to please the fans. He came to the plate once, grounded out weakly to second, and came out of the game. He left straight from KC the morning after for the Mayo Clinic, where he soon received his diagnosis of ALS.

13. Tris Speaker • CF • 1907—1928

Never played in KC that I'm aware of, but he did become heavily involved with the Blues for a brief time. Along with two partners, Speaker purchased the Blues before the '33 season. Speaker planned on being the field manager in addition to overseeing all personnel, contracts, and scouting issues. He realized quickly that it was too much, and stepped down as manager almost as soon as he started. He and his partners sold the team a couple of years later. (Info from Timothy M. Gay's book Tris Speaker.)

14. Stan Musial • OF/1B • 1941—1963

Definitely played a KC exhibition in '43, and could have played a couple of others. Also singled in his lone plate appearance at the '60 All Star Game.

15. Grover Cleveland (Pete) Alexander • P • 1911—1930

16. Mickey Mantle • CF • 1951—1968

Sent down to the Blues after a slow start to his rookie season in '51. The legend goes that he was ready to quit baseball until his father came to pick him up in KC and gave him a hard time about quitting. In 40 games with the Blues, crushed 11 homers and a 1.096 OPS. Returned to Municipal as a MLB visitor for 114 games (26 HRs, .983 OPS).

17. Roger Clemens • P • 1984—2007

19 games at Kauffman: 12-4, 2.05 ERA.

18. Lefty Grove • P • 1920—1941

19. Bullet Rogan • P/CF • 1915—1938

Spent much of his childhood in Kansas City, KS. Starred for the Monarchs from 1920—38 and managed them '26—'34 and '36. Also umpired home games for many years after his playing days. Buried at Blue Ridge Lawn Memorial Gardens in KC.

20. Josh Gibson • C • 1930—1946

Visited KC to face the Monarchs.


  1. What a project! Great list so far, I have to say that I'm not finding many places to disagree.