Jackie Robinson Statue Fundraiser Surpasses $175K Goal For Replacement After Monument Was Stolen, Destroyed, & Burned In Kansas
It’s a happy day for League 42.
If you didn’t know, last week, a statue of baseball icon Jackie Robinson was stolen from their youth league field in Wichita, Kansas.
The lifesize memorial was erected by the non-profit little-league organization (in honor of the great Jackie Robinson) in 2021, which occupied a spot at a complex inside McAdams Park.
Reportedly, the Jackie Robinson model was cut off at the ankles and taken to a location called Garvey Park, where it was later found burned to pieces in a nearby garbage can.
Upon responding to a call about a trash fire, Wichita Police Department’s Andrew Ford recounted,
“Shortly after extinguishing the fire, the fire department saw what appeared to be pieces of the Jackie Robinson statue, which is not salvageable at this time.”
While authorities are still on the hunt for the perpetrators, chief police Joe Sullivan assured that an investigation is underway, and an arrest will be made for theft and arson. At this time, only a truck has been suspected to be in connection with the crime.
He said in a conference,
“For those of you who are in any way involved in this… this means whether you were involved in stealing the statue, whether or not you accepted the statue, you were part of the destruction of the statue…. it is only a matter of time, and in your best interest to turn yourself in, come forward, and admit your part in this.”
Following the horrific occurrence, League 42 Foundation’s Administrative Assistant Jaclyn Evans and Executive Director Bob Lutz created a GoFundMe to raise money for the statue’s reconstruction.
Bob Lutz wrote,
“As law enforcement searches for 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 replace the statue.”
When discovering the destroyed art piece on what would’ve been Robinson’s 105 birthday (Wednesday, Jan. 31), Evans added:
“We are deeply saddened by the news that our statue was found completely unsalvageable.”
On Thursday (Feb. 1), it was announced that the GoFundMe had met its $175,000 goal to build a new statue.
Although the replacement costs will be paid, they’ll (seemingly) be keeping the GoFundMe running to aid in other expenses, such as their educational programs, field lights and surfaces, and additional equipment.
In their statement to the donators, Lutz said on behalf of League 42,
“Those of us involved with League 42, from our staff to our board to our players and to our families, have been overwhelmed with the response to our GoFundMe fundraising page. Simply amazing. We are able to replace our great Jackie Robinson state at Wichita’s historic McAdams Park because of all the help we have received.”
The late James Parsons is the original creator of the Jackie Robinson statue. According to Lutz, the mold is “still viable” and will allow them to remaster the replica that will return to McAdams Park.
Brooklyn Dodgers legend Robinson was known for being the staple that (ultimately) ended racial segregation in the Major League.
The Hall of Famer is often deemed the greatest baseball player of all time. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1972 from a heart attack.
Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Robinson! Share some love for the late barrier breaker below.