As we enter the seventh inning stretch of the Spring 2023 semester, let’s throw it back to a beloved pastime: baseball! Today’s collection highlight, the Jerauld R. Crowell papers, showcases the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League, a league with ties back to Great Depression-era baseball in Kansas.
In Wichita, Kansas, in 1935, Satchel Paige and his Bismarck, North Dakota, Churchills won the first National Baseball Congress tournament after defeating the Duncan, Oklahoma, Halliburtons in the title game. Raymond “Hap” Dumont, the founder of the tournament, promised Paige $1,000 (around $22,000 in today’s money) to simply play in the newly created tournament. Banking on Paige’s talent and star power to draw crowds, Dumont’s gamble paid off. The tournament was an instant success, drawing over 100,000 spectators over the course of the tournament. “Hap” Dumont used this success to turn the National Baseball Congress, or the NBC, into an institution that would feature some of the best talent in baseball. It is still in play today.
Nearly forty years later, Jerauld R. Crowell with other founding members created the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth Baseball League, a youth league established in partnership with the NBC. Named after NBC founder “Hap” Dumont, the youth league began as an organization for participants twelve and under. The league would eventually grow to add eleven different age divisions from eight to eighteen years old. The youth league has held tournaments at the regional, state, and national level with teams from around the world. Like the original NBC league, the NBC “Hap” Dumont Youth League is still running the bases and spotlighting young talent today.
As you all work to spotlight your own talent, don’t be afraid to swing for the fences as you clean up the semester. Finals week is on deck, but you’re in the home stretch. You’ve earned your curtain call!
Want more baseball? See our previous blog posts on the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Kansas City Monarchs, baseball cards, and the House of David Baseball Team in Kansas, as well as a variety of entries about KU baseball.