A statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson that was found dismantled and vandalized is now set to be replaced at the Kansas park where it was stolen.
The life-size copper statue went missing last week from a baseball complex inside McAdams Park in Wichita, and was found days later burned beyond repair. In response, League 42, a non-profit organization that brings little league baseball to some 600 children at the park, started a GoFundMe to raise money for a replacement.
Within days, the fundraiser had already garnered more than $186,000 in donations — far exceeding the statue's estimated value of $75,000.
Then the MLB announced Thursday that it would cover the costs to replace the symbolic structure and will also provide League 42 with additional funding to support the organization's on-field and academic goals.
Bob Lutz, founder and executive director of League 42, said the new Robinson statue would be built using the original mold.
"The Commissioner’s Office and the 30 Clubs have committed funding towards the costs of replacing our Jackie Robinson statue and providing other means of support of League 42," Lutz said in a statement. "We are grateful for their contribution to our mission of celebrating Jackie's legacy through the youth of Wichita."
In an update posted to the GoFundMe page, League 42 said that since the amount exceeded the original goal, any additional funds the group has raised will be used to enhance the baseball facilities at McAdams Park, including adding additional security measures.
"We do not want this to happen again and will be ensuring the donations given to us are used towards all other costs that come along with protecting what we have been fortunate enough to receive," organizer Jaclyn Evans stated.
Investigators said they found the truck involved in theft, but no arrests have been made.
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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