League 42 cuts ribbon on new era

League 42 celebrated the opening of the Leslie Rudd Learning Center.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 8:14 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It started with a mission to give Wichita’s children an opportunity to play baseball without the high costs often associated with the game.

Since its start, League 42 has fielded dozens of teams featuring hundreds of Wichita kids. Thursday, the ribbon was cut on a new era, with the official opening of the Leslie Rudd learning center and more plans of what is coming next.

Since its founding 10 years ago, League 42 has provided kids from all walks of life across Wichita the opportunity to not only learn a thing or two about baseball, but also valuable life lessons such as sportsmanship, fair play and the importance of education. This week, the league expanded its mission with the official opening of the Leslie Rudd Learning Center.

It all started with a dream by noted sports journalist Bob Lutz. Since 2013, League 42, named after baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, has given kids the opportunity to play ball for just $30 per family. Now, the league is expanding into another phase.

“The baseball has been great,” Lutz said. “We just want to try and do more.”

Thanks to generous donors, the league purchased property near 17th and Ohio and construct the learning center, which houses a practiced field and a tutoring center for kids.

“We want kids to really reap some benefits without the fear of high costs,” Lutz said. “That’s what we’re all about.”

Their Kids First campaign has so far raised a little more than $5 million for the center, plus the addition and renovation of baseball fields and support for the program.

But there’s still more to come.

“We’ve got some other programming we’re going to do,” Lutz said.