Cleats From Destroyed Jackie Robinson Statue Head to Museum

The statue was stolen earlier this year

Museums at 18th and Vine
The Museums At 18Th & Vine Including The American Jazz Museum And The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The saga of a statue of Jackie Robinson that was stolen from Wichita, Kansas has reached its conclusion — and it involves a trip over the state line into Missouri. As ESPN’s Anthony Olivieri reports, the cleats from the statue — the only part of it which was left intact — are being donated to a new home: Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

In January, the statue of Robinson was reported stolen from a Little League facility in Wichita, Kansas, with only the statue’s cleats left behind. A few days later, the burned remains of the statue were found elsewhere in the city. In February, police made an arrest in the case, with Aaron Moses of the Wichita police department telling the New York Times that they believed the theft to be “motivated by the financial gain of scrapping common metal” as opposed to a hate crime.

Police made one arrest in the case, though it seems likely that others were involved. A fundraising campaign has, to date, exceeded expectations in raising money for a replacement statue.

As for the cleats that remain from the original statue, League 42 founder Bob Lutz told ESPN, “It’s looking like the cleats will be delivered by April 11, definitely before Jackie Robinson Day.”

The head of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Bob Kendrick, told ESPN that the museum plans to hold a ceremony when the cleats arrive, and may display them near another Robinson-related artifact: a marker denoting the legendary player’s birthplace which was struck by gunfire in 2021.

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