Backstory and Context
In 1967, voters in Jackson County approved the bonds for the construction of Truman Sports Complex that included a football stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs and a baseball stadium for the Kansas City Athletics. This was a unique proposal as many cities were building multi-use stadiums and the location of the two stadiums next to one another invited questions about the wisdom of not following this trend.
When the stadium opened on April 10, 1973, it was celebrated as one of the game's most beautiful ballparks. And while many recent ballparks have surpassed the cost of the construction of this stadium, it retains its reputation owing to its classic design and incorporation of new technologies and updated seating areas. The ballpark has been home to the 1973 and 2012 All-Star Games, three no-hitters, playoff games in 1976, '77, '78, '80, '81, '84, '85, 2014 and '15 with 13 World Series tilts in 1980, 1985, 2014 and 2015. The facility was officially renamed in honor of team owner Ewing M. Kauffman in a ceremony at the stadium on July 2, 1993.
Beginning with the 2007 season the Royals had a red seat placed in the stadium among the all-blue seats behind home plate to honor Buck O'Neil. O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League from 1937 to 1955 and was the leading force behind the creation of the Negro Leagues museum in Kansas City. The team selects one local person who embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil selected from community nominees to sit in that seat, formerly occupied by O'Neil, at each home game. The seat is located behind home plate in Section 127 and honorees are recognized at each game for their contributions.
Kauffman, who founded Marion Laboratories in his mother's basement and built it into a diversified health care company with sales reaching nearly one billion dollars, possessed a sense of daring and an innate ability to motivate those around him. "Mr. K" also gave much personal attention to the Kansas City community, an important philosophy that was incorporated into the Royals organization. Among the awards Mr. Kauffman won for his leadership include the Kansas City Press Club's 1973 Man of the Year, an induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, and being named one of 20 finalists for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Mr. K passed away on August 1, 1993.