Our chat with Katie Woods, Tournament Director of the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kansas.
When was the NBC World Series founded and what is its mission ?
The first National Baseball Congress national tournament was played in 1935, when Hap Dumont paid Satchel Paige and his barnstorming team $1000 to come to Wichita. Since that first tournament almost 90 years ago, the NBC World Series has been the home for elite semi-professional and summer collegiate baseball, with teams from across the country traveling to Wichita every summer to play for the national championship.
The NBC World Series’ mission is to celebrate the rich history of baseball, to provide a showcase for local amateur baseball players and teams from around the country, and to be a top tier community event every summer.
How does the event aim to impact the community?
Wichita has such a rich baseball history, between the numerous independent and affiliated teams that have played at Lawrence Dumont Stadium (and now Riverfront Stadium), Wichita State University’s storied baseball program, countless successful amateur and youth programs, all the major leaguers who have come from this area, and of course the National Baseball Congress. Our goal is to continue to amplify and celebrate that history in Wichita, and also in our affiliated communities around the country.
So many people I talk to have multi-generational memories of the NBC World Series; they remember coming to games as a kid with their parents and grandparents, meeting future major leaguers, staying up later for Baseball Around the Clock, even sitting on top of the train cars past the outfield at Lawrence Dumont watching games. To continue to build those memories, and that love of the game, for future generations in Kansas is such an amazing thing for the NBC to be able to do.
Any famous alumni or people associated with the tournament?
Close to 900 major leaguers have played in the National Baseball Congress over the years, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. Satchel Paige obviously was one of the first and most memorable players associated with the NBC, but then you had Ozzie Smith, Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds, and now you have a whole new generation of MLB players like CJ Cron with the Rockies and Ryan Helsley with the Cardinals who appeared in the NBC World Series.
How can people support your organization?
The National Baseball Congress Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so community support is what really drives the NBC World Series. If you want to support, we encourage you to learn more about the NBC, buy some NBC gear, make the trip to Wichita for the tournament (2024 will be the 90th anniversary of the NBC), and go support your local summer collegiate baseball team! Summer collegiate teams thrive on community support, from host families to sponsors to fans in the stands – go cheer those teams on, they’re such a great place to relax and enjoy good local baseball.
What does "Support Local Baseball" mean to you?
Local baseball is about so much more than the game itself. Local baseball gives communities a place to gather all summer that is safe and family friendly, and really an escape from everyday life. The coaches, staff, board members, volunteers, supporters – they’re all members of your community, and they put a lot in to making those programs successful. Local baseball is really a community unto itself, and your support can do wonders to keep those teams thriving.