Gary Kuntz became involved in Babe Ruth Baseball in 1969 when he was instrumental in starting the Ottawa Babe Ruth League. Under his leadership, the Ottawa league flourished and became a frequent host for district and state tournaments. During Gary’s fifteen years as league president Ottawa hosted the 13-15 year-old age division Midwest Plains regional tournament in both 1974 and 1980.
Gary became involved in statewide Kansas Babe Ruth, first serving as District Commissioner for six years. In 1974, Gary was appointed Assistant State Commissioner for the 13-15 year-old division by then State Commissioner John Villar.
In 1990 Gary was elected State Commissioner, and as State Commissioner, he was innovative in a wide range of projects. He took each age division of Babe Ruth Baseball to new heights, making the program more attractive to all “makes and models” of recreation and youth organization in the state.
As evidence of Gary’s desire to provide a quality baseball program, he said, “I really like Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball, as we offer the ‘best of both worlds.’ We want every kid to play the game-hence our local league play, AND we have the best tournament trail in America for the good players who have desires and aspirations for college and beyond.”
Promoting Babe Ruth Baseball and its outstanding philosophies were a top priority under Gary’s leadership. In 1999, Gary’s idea of showcasing “the best 15 year-old players in the state” came to fruition as the inaugural Kansas Classic was held. Each successive August a group of these players has competed in an East vs. West double-header. This exhibition of young talent has been a highlight of the post-season.
The Kansas Babe Ruth Baseball newsletter, “Batter-Up”, was used nationally by Babe Ruth President Ron Tellefsen as an example of an outstanding publication and communication tool. This newsletter, originated by Gary, was written and published quarterly and used in Kansas to communicate with local leagues about important issues. It recognized individuals and leagues for exemplary work, while promoting and motivating local and state volunteers to continue to provide a fair and high quality baseball program for the youth of the state.
Gary implemented the beginning of the Cal Ripken Baseball Leagues, the 11 and 14 year-old tournament trails, and the awarding of MVP certificates for each game of every district and state tournament. Most recently during the 2003 state tournaments, one player from each tournament field was honored for his outstanding hustle, attitude and pride. This award, initiated and sponsored by Gary, is known as the AH2P State Commissioner’s Award.
Gary retired as State Commissioner in 2009, but remained on the board until 2019. He now resides in Augusta where he uses his many talents in various community endeavors. Family and friends of Gary can take great satisfaction in Gary’s many years of quality service to the youth in the state of Kansas and throughout the Midwest Plains Region.
The Kansas Babe Ruth hall of Fame is reserved for individuals who display great personal strength, honesty, integrity, tireless devotion, enthusiasm, a love for the game, and the interest of others before his own. For these reasons, it is with great pride and pleasure that Kansas Babe Ruth Leagues awards the coveted Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame award to one of its own. Honoring men and women for their service in the Kansas Babe Ruth Leagues, the Kansas Babe Ruth Hall of Fame now includes the name of Gary Kuntz.
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