The game of baseball should be made available to every child at minimal expense, with emphasis on participation, learning the fundamentals of the game, teamwork, and commitment to the game and teammates. Such is the philosophy of Paul Unrau pertaining to a youth baseball program. Paul has utilized his principles since 1975 when he began coaching in a recreation program. In Paul’s words, “The main objective as a manager was to make the game fun, giving each player the opportunity to team, play, improve their skills, and enjoy their team, stressing excellence in every aspect of the game, including how a team presented itself.” His goal was that each participant develop into a better and more complete player and person. Paul’s love for the game of baseball is eclipsed by his love of the kids who participate and their proper development. “Achieving the pride of doing things the “right” way, working with players at their particular skill level with positive reinforcement, and learning how to lose as well as win are very important.”
After coaching in the recreation program for four years, Paul was bitten by the Babe Ruth “bug”, managing Moundridge Babe Ruth teams in the 13-15 age group from 1979 until 2001. During his tenure as manager, he accrued a lengthy list of accomplishments, including involvement in Moundridge league championships ten times, manager of the league all-stars eight times, and manager of District IV championship teams seven times.
Teams coached by Paul learned the concept of “family”, and how that unity strongly impacted their success and enjoyment of the game. Each year, he would take his team on a three-day trip to the Kansas City area where they would play other Babe Ruth teams and attend a Royals game. He and his coaching staff kept and compiled individual statistics for his players while he was coaching, and he designed and created player trading card sets for his team members.
Paul is a great promoter of Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball in Kansas. In 1979 he was the co-founder of the original Newton Babe Ruth League, and in 1994, he helped establish the Mid-Kansas Babe Ruth League. He served as Tournament Director of the 1986 State 13-15 year-old Tournament held in Newton, and was on the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament committee in Moundridge in 2000. In 2003, he became the Assistant State Commissioner for the 11 year-olds and one year later, volunteered for double-duty, taking on the 9 year-olds as well.
Paul’s intense desire for quality tournaments is depicted in his “Hosting a State Babe Ruth Tournament”, a 36-page guide thoroughly covering each step to producing a tournament that is a first-class “event”, fun and memorable for all involved. He designed the KBRL envelopes and business cards, fabricated the “KBRL Hall of Fame” exhibits displayed at all State Tournaments, and the “Classic” displays. In 2006, he designed the coin used by Babe Ruth officials to determine home team, and because the “WOW” Award was discontinued by headquarters, designed our own Kansas “WOW” Award. Paul’s calligraphy skill is the envy of all Babe Ruth officials who see the MVP Awards he presents and the home run baseballs he authenticates.
Paul was originally brought on the KBRL Board of Directors in 1988 as the Treasurer, an office he presently holds. The budget and financial reports he provides at each state meeting are precise, provide clear detail of our state finances, and often influence the board members in arriving a their decisions.
In 2009, Paul was appointed by newly elected State Commissioner Bob Willis as the Cal Ripken Commissioner for Kansas.
Paul resides in Moundridge. Paul retired from the teaching profession in 2001 after teaching fourth and fifth grades for 29 years. He now is involved in marketing with Americinn and High Plains Management. He has served as chairman of an audio production and as sound technician for his church. Paul also had a four-year stint as manager of Bethel College Baseball Club. His wife Grace, who passed away June 20, 2007, was an elementary school educator and assisted Paul during his tournaments.
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 put the interests of others first. 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 Paul Unrau.