Kauffman Stadium opened in 1973 and is home to the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. The stadium replaced Municipal Stadium which was constructed in the 1920s and was home to the Kansas City Blues and the Kansas City Monarchs. The stadium is part of the Truman Sports Complex along with Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. Since 1993, the ballpark has been named in honor the late Ewing Kauffman, the founder and first owner of the Royals as well as a leading businessman and philanthropist in the Kansas City area. The stadium opened in 1973 as Royals Stadium and was named for Kauffman on July 2, 1993, just a month prior to Kaufmann's death. Kaufmann donated the team to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation under the condition that the team would be sold to owners who would keep the team in Kansas City with all proceeds from the sale of the team benefiting local charities. The stadium is best-known for the water fountains along the outfield fence that formed the largest privately-funded water fountain in the world when the stadium opened. The stadium also features a ten-story scoreboard topped by a gold crown that can be seen by traffic along I-70.
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.