Municipal Stadium (Muehlebach Field)
Kansas City's Muehlebach Field was built in 1923 at a cost of $400,000 to the George Muehlebach Brewing Company. The stadium was built for the Kansas City Blues who played in the American Association. The ballpark was also home to the Kansas City Monarchs, the longest-operating and arguably the most successful franchise in Negro League history. From 1923 to 1955, the stadium housed the Monarchs and also featured four Colored World Series. In addition, the stadium was home to three NFL teams throughout its history. The stadium changed its name to Municipal Stadium in 1955 when it became home to the Kansas City Athletics, a team that was part of Major League Baseball's American League between 1955 and 1967. The Athletics left Kansas City for Oakland in 1968 but Municipal Stadium once again hosted Major League baseball when Kansas City and Seattle secured expansion teams in 1969. The Kansas City Royals called Municipal Stadium home for two years, moving to Royals Stadium (known as Kaufmann Stadium today) in 1971. Municipal Stadium also hosted home games of the Kansas City Chiefs between 1963 and the creation of Arrowhead Stadium in 1971. Today, the ballpark is gone and the area is home to several private residences.
Backstory and Context
In 1869, George Muehlebach bought Main Street Brewery which was at the northwest corner of 18th and Main Street. By 1880, Muehlebach had expanded operations and became the largest brewery in the city. The company invested its profits in developing the stadium, a hotel, and several other commercial ventures until 1956, when the company was acquired by Schlitz.
In 1923, Muehlebach Field was built to be a home for the Kansas City Blues, a minor league American Association team. However, the ballpark did not just serve as the home of the Kansas City Blues. In addition, it also served as the home of the Kansas City Monarchs who were the longest operating franchise in Negro League history.
While housing the Negro League’s longest-running franchise makes Municipal Stadium historically important, the field is even more important in Negro League history because it house four Colored World Series. These four series came in 1925, 1926, 1942, and 1946. During its time, Municipal Stadium featured many hall of famers including some of the Negro League’s greatest pitchers, such as Bullet Rogan, José Méndez, and Hilton Smith. During the entire lifespan of the American Association, the only ever perfect game, which was thrown by Carl de Rose, came in 1947 at Municipal Stadium. In 1955, a major league baseball team, the Philadelphia Athletics, came to the field as well. Their arrival led to renovations that raised rent prices, which then forced the Kansas City Monarchs to leave the stadium after the 1955 season.
1960 was a big year for Municipal Stadium as it hosted both the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and the final Negro Leagues East-West Game. However, the year 1960 was the last big year for Municipal Stadium, though it did remain the home of the Kansas City Athletics until their move to Oakland, California in 1968. Consequently, 1968 became the first year in its history that Municipal Stadium didn’t feature any professional baseball games. After that, it was the home of the Kansas City Royals from 1969-1972. Following the 1972 season, the Royals moved to a new stadium, and Municipal Stadium became empty. Today, part of it is used as a community garden, and part sits as an empty lot.
"Kansas City Municipal Stadium." Stadiums of Pro Football. Accessed July 1, 2014. http://www.stadiumsofprofootball.com/past/KCMunicipal.htm
Hecken, Phil. "There Used To Be A Ballpark Here." Uni Watch. August 25, 2010. http://www.uni-watch.com/2010/08/25/there-used-to-be-a-ballpark-here-part-i/