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Community raises enough to replace vandalized Jackie Robinson statue

After a group raised thousands to replace a destroyed statue of Jackie Robinson, it now hopes to provide better baseball facilities for 600 kids.
Community raises enough to replace vandalized Jackie Robinson statue
Posted at 10:32 AM, Feb 01, 2024

Days after a missing statue honoring MLB great Jackie Robinson was found in disrepair, a group has now raised enough to replace the statue. 

League 42 now hopes it can make the site for the statue even better than before. 

According to League 42, a group that brings baseball to nearly 600 children in Wichita, Kansas, the life-sized statue was recently stolen from a baseball complex inside McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas. It was found earlier this week in disrepair and burned.

Investigators said they have found the truck involved in theft, but no arrests have been made. The Wichita Police said they're confident they are close to being able to make an arrest. 

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Troy Houtman, director of Wichita's Parks and Recreation Department, questioned why anyone would try to damage the statue. 

"I was wondering who would do such a thing, who would actually take a statue of Jackie Robinson, an icon of baseball history," he said. "I hope they didn't know what they were doing."

In response, more than 3,400 people have donated more than $170,000 combined to help fund a replacement statue. Since the amount exceeded its original goal, League 42 says additional money will be used to enhance the baseball facilities at McAdams Park, including adding security measures. 

"We are devoted to helping our 600 kids in any way we can," said Bob Lutz, executive director of League 42. "We also are working to install better security around the statue area and new lights and artificial turf for two of our playing fields."

Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947, which had kept Black players in separate leagues from MLB until that point. He would go on to be a six-time All-Star and the 1949 National League MVP. 

His No. 42 jersey is retired by all 30 MLB teams. 

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