For years, the old YMCA building was an eyesore at the entrance of the 18th and Vine District. But over the last few years, the façade has been restored and the windows replaced. And, on the south wall, a giant mural has gone up of the legendary baseball player, coach and keeper of the Negro Leagues flame Buck O’Neil.
The Negro Leagues got their start in Kansas City, when eight independent black baseball teams met at the Paseo YMCA in 1920. Buck O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and had a major role in opening the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.
The movie “42” tells a story of baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who once played for the Kansas City Monarchs. He broke the color barrier with his entry into Major League Baseball. A recent sneak preview of the movie in Kansas City featured an appearance by iconic actor Harrison Ford and a handful of his co-stars.