St. Louis Stars, Kansas City Monarchs Now Part Of Official MLB Record
Major League Baseball announced in December that it would recognize Negro Leagues players as major leaguers in official records.
Local baseball historian Ed Wheatley says the move reflects an important declaration from MLB that “Black players matter” — including players like Satchel Paige, who pitched for the St. Louis Browns from 1951 to 1953. Before that, he played for 18 years in the Negro Leagues.
Now that Paige’s 1,620 strikeouts and 146 wins are formally recognized, Wheatley said, “That really puts him in to be seen as one of the top men who ever threw the baseball towards home plate.”
On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Wheatley discussed the Negro Leagues’ rich history in St. Louis, including the St. Louis Stars (originally called the St. Louis Giants). The Stars played at the country's first Black-owned professional baseball park: Stars Park, which was located at the southeast corner of Compton and Laclede Avenues.
“If you go up in Midtown — right about where the new soccer stadium is going, right where Harris-Stowe is across from Chaifetz [Arena] — that’s where the St. Louis Stars played,” Wheatley said. “In the ‘20s, the Stars were one of the best teams of all. They won three world championships in the Negro Leagues.”
The stadium slowly decayed after the Stars were caught up in the financial crisis of the Great Depression and disbanded in 1931.
“Fortunately, the ground is still there. The baseball diamond is still there; Harris-Stowe uses that for their college teams,” Wheatley said. “And the St. Louis Cardinals, just last year, put forth several million dollars to refurbish that stadium. We were supposed to have — last May — a big ceremony down there, honoring the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, [but] just like everything else, it got canceled.”
“We’re hoping,” Wheatley added, “that we will reengage in this partnership with the Cardinals, the partnership with Harris-Stowe, and honor not only Stars Park but all these men from the Negro Leagues.”
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.