League 42 celebrates Jackie Robinson Day with debut of life-sized statue

Local Sports

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A project six years in the making has finally made its way to the heart of Wichita. On Thursday, 74 years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier, League 42 debuted Jackie Robinson Pavilion at McAdams Park, celebrating the trailblazer’s life and legacy.

“It gives them something to recognize when they come to this part of the park,” said Larry Dennis, League 42’s vice chairman. “They will see Jackie Robinson and how inspiring he was. Not only to African Americans and people of color, but to everyone in this whole community. It’s a great honor to be able to see this day.”

League 42 founder, Bob Lutz, named the nonprofit youth baseball league after Robinson to inspire its players to reach success, despite adversity.

“He broke through barriers. He never let anything get in his way. He was not deterred by those who told him no. That just added fuel to his fire. That’s what we want our kids to do,” said Lutz. “We get kids from all walks of life. Some of our kids come from tough upbringings – they don’t have a lot of amenities, and they don’t have things handed to them, but it’s still possible for them to be successful in life, and that’s what Jackie Robinson did.”

The statue is facing League 42’s $1 million facilities, including an indoor baseball training area and a 20-station computer lab designed to intermingle skills learned on the baseball field and in the classroom.

“Having those lessons passed onto further generations will create better leaders, better opportunities, and self-confidence,” said Wichita mayor Brandon Whipple. “We know that sports are about more than playing a game. It’s about learning life lessons.”

To learn more about League 42, click here.

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