The Topeka Stars were founded in 1977 by current head coach, Frank Magee. At a time when the only option for 17/18 year old kids to play baseball was American Legion, Frank took a huge risk and formed the Stars. Frank saw there were 100’s of kids in the Topeka Area that were not able to get the opportunity to play at this level with the lack of teams and those teams restrictions on recruitment. Frank also saw the cost to the kids that were getting these opportunities and felt a lot of kids were getting left out due to these costs and wanted to create a team in which any kid regardless of school, income level, or any other factor could get a place to play and the same opportunity as those other teams.
So the Stars were formed. In the beginning, none of the American Legion teams would play the Stars and there were constant battles over playing fields and schedules, and players. With a lack of local scheduling available the Stars became affiliated with Pony Baseball Association to help provide not only a similar post season environment for the team but to also help fill the schedule. The Stars stayed affiliated with Pony for 6 years with the highlight coming in 1982 as the Stars won their first Pony State Tournament and advancing to the Midwest regionals where the Stars came up just a little short finishing 2nd.
There have been many changes over the year with the Stars moving to a KC based Babe Ruth League in 1983 where they advanced to district every year to Frank starting the first Babe Ruth league in Topeka, which at its height had 6 teams. During this time frame from 1985-2000 the Stars started an amazing streak of advancing to the State tourney every year, including a streak from 1997-2000 in which the Stars never lost a game in District or State tournament play. The Stars reached their first Babe Ruth Midwest Regional in 1988 on a team current Assistant coach Matt Magee played on and advanced to the championship game before going down by a single run. The Stars finally advanced to their first Babe Ruth World Series in 2000 which took place in Concorde New Hampshire in front of more than 2000 fans per game. The Stars went 1-2 and were the first team from the state of Kansas to ever advance to the 18u World Series.
The Stars then changed affiliations after the 2000 season and affiliated with both AABC and NBC in which they won the State tourney in both this next season and opted to attend the first ever 18u NBC world Series in Arkansas. The Stars showed well placing 2nd in this first world series. They went on to place 3rd and 4th over the next 2 years in the NBC World Series.
The Stars did capture a World Series crown in 1997 winning the Triple Crown World Series in Steamboat Springs, CO. going undefeated in this tournament. After the 2003 season the Stars have affiliated and advanced to 3 AABC Midwest regionals and have recorded the only win by a Kansas team in this tournament to date being one of the toughest tournaments in the country. The Stars also placed 2nd in a Pony Zone, and have advanced to a NABF world series twice including making advancing past pool play the 1st time.
The Stars also started a fall season separate from the summer. This was deemed by Baseball America as being the first of its type in the Midwest in the late 80’s when Frank started it they were the only one doing this type of thing in the area for years. Over the years the market has become saturated with other teams doing this now but the stars stay on top of the changes by starting the fall showcase schedule that is now played by most of the elite teams in the state. They have now also changed to making this fall showcase series a wood bat schedule.
The Stars were instrumental with Assistant coach Matt Magee’s idea of an elite travel team wood bat summer league in setting this up in 2013 and was founded as the Kansas Wood Bat Baseball Association or KWBBA for short in which Stars assistant coach Matt Magee was elected as the first president of the league and Stars head coach Frank Magee was elected in as the Treasurer. The league is comprised of 7 teams in NE Kansas area and saw the Stars go 4-2 in season one.
The Stars also started the Great Plains Shootout which has rapidly become one of the elite wood bat tournaments in the Midwest. The tourney started in 2006 with 12 teams and has grown to 30-32 teams the past couple of years with more than half of all teams traveling from out of state to play here including teams from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri, among other places.
With all of this change over the years as the Stars have adapted to the needs of the youth in this area they never charged a single dime to do any of this for their first 30 years of existence. You read that correctly for 30 years players were not charged to play for this team. Due to rising costs of the baseball community and the changing needs of the team the Stars started charging a small fee in which they actually refunded said fee of $300 for the next couple of years before slowly phasing that out. Today the Stars charge $750 which is not even a third of what most programs at our level charge and still less than other local teams as well as Frank Magee is not taking a salary and has in fact gone in the hole every year since this team started as he stays committed to helping all kids regardless of income have the opportunity to play college baseball, while playing what is deemed the toughest schedule in the state of Kansas during summer ball.
The Stars have several fundraising opportunities to help players pay for the cost of playing this schedule and most kids are able to pay off or a large portion of the hotel and travel costs. So while there are some fees associated with playing we have strived to do this within Frank’s original goals of all kids being able to afford to have this opportunity and feel we have accomplished this.
While all this is amazing within itself Frank Magee has won over 1500 games as head coach of the Stars which averages to 41 games a year. Frank has seen more than 1400 players come thru the program over the years and have seen more than 80% of those kids that wanted to play college ball go on to play college baseball at all levels from Junior college all the way to being Drafted. The Stars have seen players go to Coastal Carolina, North Carolina, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, to name a few including one that has since been nominated to the Texas Tech Hall of fame, and more than 35 players drafted including one as high as #12 overall. The Stars have been around so long now that have seen numerous former players coaching at the high school ranks and seven former players now coaching at the college level and above.
As the Stars get set to take the field to start the 2014 season they will once again embark on the toughest schedule in the state as they head to Denver, Omaha, Springfield, St. Louis, OKC, Dallas, and Jackson Mississippi as well as the KWBBA league schedule and the Great Plains Shootout will mark maybe the toughest schedule to date. The Stars have multiple players that have already signed to play college ball next fall, a current coaching staff with 2 current college coaches as assistants as well as Franks almost 40 years of knowledge and expertise of the game to lead us forward in what will no doubt be yet another unforgettable year in a what has proven to be a main stay of youth baseball in Kansas.