KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Buck O'Neil and Leroy "Satchel" Paige are two of the most famous names in Kansas City baseball. But this summer, a pair of Kansas City buildings tied to the legends were destroyed within weeks of each other.
In June, the Buck O'Neil Research and Education Center was vandalized. The main line water pipe was cut, flooding the building. It caused nearly $500,000 in damages.
Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, will never forget the day he heard the bad news.
"To think that somebody wanted to deliberately damage it...it hurts you at your core," Kendrick said.
The vandalism came just weeks after a fire destroyed the former home of baseball legend "Satchel" Paige.
"I don't think the two things are connected, but they are very eerie coincidences," Kendrick said.
Through the tough times, Kendrick said he always remembers what O'Neil once said.
"People will do bad things, good people will fix them, and the good people stepped up to help us fix them," Kendrick said.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum also hopes to benefit from the sales of bobbleheads to help fund repairs. On Wednesday, the Negro Leagues Centennial Team was unveiled. Thirty of the greatest African American and Cuban players from 1895 to 1947 are featured as bobbleheads.
"The support that we're generating right now will help us with those repairs and then get us in the process of the restoration required to keep the project moving itself," Kendrick said.
Kendrick said clean-up and repairs will begin at the Buck O'Neil Research and Education Center at the beginning of 2019. He's hoping restoration will quickly follow.
Currently, there's an official online Major League Baseball auction. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Jackie Robinson Foundation will benefit from the sales. Kendrick said the museum will use the money specifically for the Buck O'Neil Research and Education Center restoration project.