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On Jackie Robinson’s 105 Birthday, Wichita Youth Baseball Raising Money to Replace Statue Destroyed by Vandals

Published on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 | 3:56 pm
 

A local youth baseball league is raising money to replace a statue of legendary Pasadena resident Jackie Robinson that was stolen last week and found destroyed.

Organizers with League 42 said the statue was stolen from McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas. Police found the burned remnants of the statue on Tuesday morning. 

Wednesday would have been Robinson’s 105th birthday. In 2022, Major League Baseball replaced a vandalized plaque in Cairo, Ga. where Robinson was born. 

“Recently, that statue was cut off just above Jackie’s shoe tops and stolen from its rightful place,” said League 42 Director Bob Lutz, on the league’s GoFundMe page. “As law enforcement searches for the statue and the culprits of this crime, we remain devoted to our mission of providing low-cost baseball and education opportunities for our 600 kids, ages 5-14. They are as heartbroken over this theft as any of us and we are determined to either repair the original sculpture or create a new one.”

According to its website, League 42 was founded in 2013, so that Wichita’s urban children could have an opportunity to play baseball without the high costs of playing in organized or even recreational leagues. 

The league has grown from 200 children on 16 teams to nearly 600 on 44 teams in 2020. 

As of Tuesday, the campaign to replace the statue has raised $28,000.

Robinson was born in Cairo to a family of sharecroppers. His family moved to Pasadena in 1920. They were the only black family on Pepper Street, and battled racism during their time there. Robinson graduated from John Muir High School and then UCLA, where he became the school’s first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football, and track.

Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.

To donate to the campaign, click here.

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