Earl Bondy was a driving force behind Babe Ruth Baseball and other youth leagues in Salina until his death December 11, 1990. Bondy was one of the organizers of Salina’s Babe Ruth Baseball program in 1973 and served as the organizations first president. He also organized other leagues and received numerous awards for his interest in local youth. He literally spent a lifetime making sure all kids had a place to play organized sports. Whether it was YMCA, Sacred Heart High School, youth football and floor hockey, soccer, Kansas State High School Athletic Association, or sitting in his familiar lawn chair at Babe Ruth baseball games, Earl was always there to help. Earl was competitive when he coached, but he never put the game or a win ahead of a youth participant.
Bondy loved baseball and the kids who played the game, but he had a special place in his heart for those children not quite as skilled as some of their teammates. His dream was to empower the lives of all girls and boys by giving them the opportunity to be part of a team and play in each game. He hardly kept still in his retirement in 1980 and left a legacy which will be difficult for anyone to match. Among his accomplishments were:
- He helped organize the pee-wee and midget baseball leagues after moving from Garden City to Salina in 1965.
- He helped organize the Salina Babe Ruth Baseball program in 1973 and was the association’s first president.
- He was named the Most Valuable Person for the Salina Babe Ruth program in 1978.
- He was a recipient of Salina’s Community Service Award in 1989.
- He spent several years as a statistician for Sacred Heart High School as well as the Babe Ruth programs.
- He was a sponsor and coach for several YMCA sports.
- He was honored as the Sacred Heart High School “Booster of the Year”.
- He helped organize K-18 baseball leagues in southwest Kansas in the 1950s.
- The baseball complex in Salina was named after him in 1990 and dedicated July 9, 1999.
- He was inducted into the Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame in 1991.
But there was more to Earl Bondy than just athletics. He drove a school bus for several years for the students at St. Mary’s Grade School and Sacred Heart High School. He was also a CYO sponsor and chairman of the St. Cristopher’s Transportation, Inc.
Earl was a person who loved children. It didn’t matter if they were the starting pitcher or the player who sat at the end of the bench. It didn’t matter if they were regulars on his school bus route or kids he saw just once or twice a month. All were special to him.