/Mets vs. Royals — World Series Game 3 Live Updates

Mets vs. Royals — World Series Game 3 Live Updates

Photo

Duke Ellington, with bat, and members of his band played baseball in front of their segregated motel while touring Florida in 1955.Credit Charlotte Brooks/Library of Congress (LOOK Magazine Photograph Collection)

After the Mets and the Royals had secured spots in the World Series last week, observers searched for connections between the teams. There seemed to be few.

But as the Series shifts from Kansas City to New York, it is following a well-trodden path, forged decades ago with the migration of some of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

Just as Kansas City once effectively served as a feeder system of ballplayers to New York, Kansas City’s hopping nightclub scene was the fertile ground that produced some of New York’s top musical acts, and baseball was a cherished pastime for many of them.

Count Basie’s big band helped make Kansas City’s nightclub district, around 18th and Vine Streets, swing before the musicians moved on to New York. The band, like Duke Ellington’s, also fielded a competitive baseball team, which played against teams from other orchestras.

The tenor saxophonist Lester Young built his chops in Kansas City’s nightclub…

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