Albert William “Al” Kaline was born in Baltimore in 1934 and raised in Westport, an area of the city just south of the intersection of I-95 and I-295. Kaline is one of two baseball Hall of Famers born in Baltimore, the other one being, of course, Babe Ruth.
Westport is notable in Baltimore baseball history not only as Kaline’s hometown, but as home in 1950 to the Negro American League Baltimore Elite Giants. Westport Stadium, once located just southeast of the intersection of I-295 and Annapolis Road, hosted not only Negro League baseball, but also was home to some of Baltimore’s first NASCAR events.
On a recent trip to Westport in search of the Elite Giant’s former home ballpark, I stopped in front of 2222 Cedley Street to take pictures of the house where Kaline once lived. The white-painted brick house is currently boarded up. A key box hanging on the front door knob suggests that it is either soon to be on the market or perhaps under renovation.
For the past decade or so there has been talk of redeveloping Westport’s waterfront to include new office space, hotel rooms, retail, and residential units. Over the years those plans have hit a variety of snags and delays, however, redevelopment seems all but inevitable. The area in Westwood projected for redevelopment is just a long fly ball from Kaline’s former home.
Given the current state of 2222 Cedley Street, and the chance for a nearby neighborhood renaissance, hopefully those planning Westport’s revitalized waterfront appreciate the history of that house and will find a way to insure it is part of Westport’s future.