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Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals are a member of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Royals have played in Kauffman Stadium.

The "Royals" name originates from the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, and rodeo held annually in Kansas City since 1899. Th "Royals" name also echoes the name of a legendary Negro League club, the Kansas City Monarchs.

Entering Major League Baseball as an expansion franchise in 1969, the club was founded by Ewing Kauffman, a Kansas City businessman. The franchise was established following the actions of Stuart Symington, then-United States Senator from Missouri, who demanded a new franchise for the city after the Athletics—Kansas City's previous major league team—moved to Oakland, California.

Franchise history

1969–1979: Taking off

The Royals began play in 1969 in Kansas City, Missouri. In their inaugural game, on April 8, 1969, the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 4–3 in 12 innings.

The team was quickly built through a number of trades engineered by its first General Manager, Cedric Tallis, including a trade for Lou Piniella, who won the Rookie of the Year during the Royals' inaugural season. The Royals also invested in a strong farm system and soon developed such future stars as pitchers Paul Splittorff and Steve Busby, infielders George Brett and Frank White, and outfielder Al Cowens.

In 1971, the Royals had their first winning season, with manager Bob Lemon leading them to a second-place finish. In 1973, under manager Jack McKeon, the Royals adopted their iconic "powder blue" road uniforms and moved from Municipal Stadium to the brand-new Royals Stadium (now known as Kauffman Stadium).

Manager Whitey Herzog replaced McKeon in 1975, and the Royals quickly became the dominant franchise in the American League's Western Division, winning three straight division championships from 1976 to 1978. However, the Royals lost to the New York Yankees in three straight American League Championship Series encounters.

1980–1984: From pennant to pine tar incident

After the Royals finished in second place in 1979, Herzog was fired and replaced by Jim Frey. Under Frey, the Royals rebounded in 1980 and advanced to the ALCS, where they again faced the Yankees. The Royals vanquished the Yankees in a three-game sweep punctuated by a George Brett home run off of Yankees' star relief pitcher Goose Gossage. After after reaching their first World Series, the Royals fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

The Royals returned to the post-season in 1981, losing to the Oakland Athletics in a unique divisional series resulting from the split-season caused by the 1981 Major League Baseball strike. In July of 1983, while the Royals were headed for a second-place finish behind the Chicago White Sox another chapter in the team's rivalry with the Yankees occurred. In what has come to be known as "the Pine Tar Incident," umpires discovered illegal placement of pine tar (more than 18 inches up the handle) on third baseman George Brett's bat after he had hit a home run. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland immediately disallowed the home run, and George Brett stormed out of the dugout, angry and hysterical. McClelland ejected Brett. "The Pine Tar Incident" has now become part of baseball lore.

Under the leadership of manager Dick Howser, the Royals won their fifth division championship in 1984, relying on Brett's bat and the young pitching staff of Bret Saberhagen, Mark Gubicza, Charlie Leibrandt, Bud Black and Danny Jackson. The Royals were then swept by the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers went on to win the World Series.

1985: Missouri's finest and the "I-70 Series"

In the 1985 regular season the Royals topped the Western Division for the sixth time in ten years, led by Bret Saberhagen's Cy Young Award-winning performance. Throughout the ensuing playoffs, the Royals repeatedly put themselves into difficult positions, but managed to escape each time. With the Royals down 3-games-to-one in the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Royals eventually rallied to win the series 4-3. In the 1985 World Series against the cross-state St. Louis Cardinals – the so-called "I-70 Series" because the two teams are both located in the state of Missouri and connected by Interstate 70 – the Royals again fell behind 3-1. The key game in the Royals' comeback was Game Six. Facing elimination, the Royals trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning, before rallying to score two runs and win. The rally was helped by a controversial safe call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger, which allowed Royals outfielder Jorge Orta to reach base safely as the first baserunner of the inning.

Following Orta's single, the Cardinals dropped an easy popout and suffered a passed ball, before the Royals went on to win with a bloop base hit by seldom used pinch hitter Dane Iorg. Following the tension of Game Six, the Cardinals came undone in Game Seven, and the Royals won 11-0 to clinch the franchise's first World Series title.

1986–1994: Staying in the picture

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Royals developed young stars such as Bo Jackson, Tom Gordon, and Kevin Seitzer, made some successful free-agent acquisitions, and generally posted winning records, but always fell short of the post-season. For example, in 1989, the Royals won 92 games and posted the third-best record in baseball, but did not qualify for the playoffs.

Many of the team's highlights from this era instead centered around the end of Brett's career, such as his third and final batting title in 1990 – which made him the first player to win batting titles in three different decades – and his 3,000th hit. Though the team dropped out of contention from 1990 to 1992, the Royals still could generally be counted on to post winning records through the strike-shortened 1994 season.

1995–2001: The decline

At the start of the 1990s, the Royals had been hit with a double-whammy when General Manager John Schuerholz departed in 1990 and team owner Ewing Kauffman died in 1993. Kauffman's death left the franchise without permanent ownership until Wal-Mart executive David Glass purchased the team for $96 million in 2000. Partly because of the resulting lack of leadership, after the 1994 season the Royals decided to reduce payroll by trading pitcher David Cone and outfielder Brian McRae, then continued their salary dump in the 1995 season. In fact, the team payroll was sliced from $40.5 million in 1994 to $18.5 million in 1996.

As attendance slid and the average MLB salary continued to rise, the Royals found it difficult to retain their remaining stars, and the club traded players such as Kevin Appier and Johnny Damon for prospects, and Jermaine Dye for perennial underachiever Neifi Perez rather than pay higher salaries or lose them to free agency. Making matters worse, most of the younger players that the Royals received in exchange for these All-Stars proved of little value, setting the stage for an extended downward spiral. Indeed, the Royals set a franchise low with a .398 winning percentage (64-97 record) in 1999, and lost 97 games again in 2001.

In the middle of this era, in 1997, the Royals declined the opportunity to switch to the National League as part of a realignment plan to introduce the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays as expansion teams.

2002–2006: Rock bottom

In 2002, the Royals set a new team record for futility, losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history. They fired manager Tony Muser and he was replaced by Tony Peña.

The 2003 season saw a temporary end to the losing, when manager Tony Peña, in his first full season with the club, guided the Royals to their first winning record (83-79) since the 1994 season. He was named the American League Manager of the Year for his efforts and then shortstop Angel Berroa was named AL Rookie of the Year. The team spent a majority of the season in first, but ended up in third place behind the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins, who won the AL Central.

Picked by many to win their division in 2004 after faring well in the free agent market, the Royals got off to a disappointing start and by late June were back in a rebuilding mode, releasing veteran reliever Curtis Leskanic before financial incentives kicked in and trading veteran reliever Jason Grimsley and superstar center fielder Carlos Beltrán for prospects, all within a week of each other. The team subsequently fell apart completely, establishing a new low by losing 104 games. The Royals did, however, see promising seasons from two rookies, center fielder David DeJesus and starting pitcher Zack Greinke. Among the many mistakes of 2004, was acquiring Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago, and keeping pitchers Darrell May and Brian Anderson, both of whom underachieved after a great 2003 season. They all were let go during the season or after the season's end.

In 2005, the Royals continued a youth movement, with one of the smallest payrolls in the Major Leagues. The Royals ended the 2005 season with a 56-106 record (.346), a full 43 games out of first place. It was the third time in four seasons that the team reestablished the mark for worst record in the history of the franchise. During that season, the Royals also suffered a franchise record 19-game losing streak highlighted by a three-game stretch of blowout losses at home from August 6 through August 9; in that stretch the Royals lost 16-1 to the Oakland Athletics, were shut out 11-0 by Oakland, and then in the third game, against the Cleveland Indians, built a 7-2 lead in the ninth inning before allowing 11 runs to lose 13-7. During the season manager Tony Peña quit and was replaced by interim manager Bob Schaefer until the Indians' bench coach Buddy Bell was chosen as the next manager.

Looking for a quick turnaround, general manager Allard Baird signed several veteran players prior to the 2006 season, including Doug Mientkiewicz, Mark Grudzielanek, Joe Mays and Scott Elarton. Nevertheless, the Royals struggled through another 100-loss season in 2006, becoming just the eleventh team in major league history to lose 100 games in three straight seasons. During the season Baird was fired as GM and replaced by Dayton Moore.

2007–present: "New. Blue. Tradition."

During the 2006 offseason, Kansas City appeared to be opening up its wallet, and entered the 2007 season looking to rebound from four out of five seasons ending with at least 100 losses. They outbid the Cubs and Blue Jays for free agent righty Gil Meche, signing him to five-year, $55 million contract. Reliever Octavio Dotel also inked a one-year, $5 million contract. The Royals have signed various new players, adding bulk to their bullpen and hitting, and the team has added several new promising prospects, including the likes of Alex Gordon and Billy Butler. Under general manager Dayton Moore the Royals were arguably the most aggressive team in the offseason. Among one of Dayton Moore's first acts as General Manager was instating a new motto for the team: "True. Blue. Tradition." The Royals plan on a slogan that will bank on new general manager Dayton Moore’s ability to restore the Royals’ once-rich history. In 2008, the Royals also ditched their black and sleeveless jerseys, instead reviving their "old" jerseys from years past. For 2008, to coincide with the introduction of powder blue alternate home jerseys, the new slogan changed from "True. Blue. Tradition" to "New. Blue. Tradition".

In the 2007 MLB Draft, the Royals selected shortstop Mike Moustakas at #2 overall, signing him minutes before the deadline. In June, the Royals had their first winning month since July 2003, and in July had their second consecutive winning month of the season. On August 1, manager Buddy Bell announced his intentions to resign following the 2007 season.On September 12, the Royals defeated the Minnesota Twins 6-3 to win their 63rd game, guaranteeing that they would not lose 100 games in 2007. The victory ended the team's string of three consecutive seasons of 100 losses or more from 2004-2006.

Kansas City's 2008 season began with the team searching for it's new manager after the departure of Buddy Bell. Early candidates to succeed Bell included Royals bench coach Billy Doran, former Royals stars George Brett (Brett denied his intentions) and Frank White, and Triple-A Omaha manager Mike Jirschele. Former Major League managers such as Joe Girardi, Jim Fregosi, Ken Macha, and Jimy Williams. Atlanta Braves coaches Terry Pendleton and Brian Snitker were also in consideration.. On October 19, the Royals hired Trey Hillman, former manager of the Nippon Ham Fighters and minor league manager of the New York Yankees, to be the 15th manager in franchise history.

As part of the Royals' "New. Blue. Tradition." motto, the Royals introduced a new rendition of their classic powder blue uniforms for the 2008 season. The team will wear the uniforms as alternates in weekend home games. The Royals previously wore powder blue uniforms from 1973 to 1991 in away games, and in 2008, the Royals will wear powder blue for the first time ever at Kauffman Stadium. The uniforms were introduced on December 6, 2007 at a special event for season ticket holders and were modeled by current players such as Alex Gordon and former players such as Frank White.

The Royals finished the 2008 season with a 75–87 record, the franchise's best since 2003. Closing pitcher Joakim Soria, the Royals' lone representative in the 2008 MLB All-Star Game, finished the year with 42 saves.

Rivalries and fan base

Historically, one of the Royals' major rivalries was with the New York Yankees. The rivalry stems largely from the period between 1976 and 1980, when both teams were in top form and met four times in five years for the American League Championship Series. An older factor in Kansas City-New York relations is the "special relationship" between the Yankees and the Kansas City A's during the 1950s, in which Kansas City's best players (such as Roger Maris and Ralph Terry) were repeatedly sent to New York with little compensation. The Royals' recent lack of success, however, as well as the Yankees' more popular and historic rivalry with the Boston Red Sox has caused this rivalry to lose its prominence. Also of note are division rivalries with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins. In the early 2000s, Detroit and Kansas City had a number of bench clearing brawls. Also notable among these are the Minnesota Twins' fans, who travel well and make a more balanced and divided crowd when the Twins visit Kansas City.

The Royals' most prominent rivalry is with the intrastate St. Louis Cardinals, stemming back to the Royals' victory over the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series. The series is still a source of contention among fans, notably the controversial call in the bottom of the ninth of game 6 in which Jorge Orta was called safe on a play that replays later showed him out. A Royals rally let them tie and later win the game and then later the series.

Interleague play in 1997 allowed the I-70 Series to be revived in non-exhibition games. The first few seasons of the series were rather even, with the Cardinals holding a slight advantage with a 14–13 record through the 2003 season. Through the 2008 season, the Cardinals hold the series advantage 28–23.

Players of note

Baseball Hall of Fame

Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Retired numbers


George
Brett

3B: 1973-93

Retired 1994

Dick
Howser

M: 1981-86

Retired 1987

Frank
White

2B: 1973-90

Retired 1995

Jackie
Robinson

Retired by all
of MLB
Retired 1997

The Royals have retired the numbers of former players George Brett (#5) and Frank White (#20). Former manager Dick Howser's number (#10) was retired following his death in 1987. Former Brooklyn Dodgers player Jackie Robinson's number (#42) is retired throughout Major League Baseball.

Royals Hall of Fame

Listed by year of induction: 1986

1987

1989

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1998

2000

2003

2004

2005

2006

2008

Current roster

Managers

Minor league affiliations

Season records

Season Won Lost % GB Finish Attendance Average Playoffs
American League West Division
align="center" 69 93 .426 28 4th 902,414 11,005 -
align="center" 65 97 .401 33 4th (tied) 693,047 8,773 -
align="center" 85 76 .528 16 2nd 910,784 11,244 -
align="center" 76 78 .494 16½ 4th 707,656 9,190 -
align="center" 88 74 .543 6 2nd 1,345,341 16,609 -
align="center" 77 85 .475 13 5th 1,173,292 14,485 -
align="center" 91 71 .562 7 2nd 1,151,836 14,220 -
align="center" 90 72 .556 align="center"
1st 1,680,265 20,744 Lost 1976 ALCS 2-3 (Yankees)
align="center" 102 60 .630 align="center"
8
1st 1,852,603 22,872 Lost 1977 ALCS 2-3 (Yankees)
align="center" 92 70 .567 align="center"
5
1st 2,255,493 27,846 Lost 1978 ALCS 1-3 (Yankees)
align="center" 85 77 .525 3 2nd 2,261,845 27,924 -
align="center" 97 65 .599 align="center"
14
1st 2,288,714 28,256 Won 1980 ALCS 3-0 (Yankees)
Lost 1980 World Series 2-4 (Phillies)
align="center" 20
30
50
30
23
53
.400
.556
.485
12
+1
11
5th (1st half)
1st (2nd half)
4th (overall)
1,279,403 27,221 Lost 1981 ALDS 0-3 (Athletics)
align="center" 90 72 .556 3 2nd 2,284,464 28,203 -
align="center" 79 83 .488 20 2nd 1,963,875 23,950 -
align="center" 84 78 .519 align="center"
3
1st 1,810,018 22,346 Lost 1984 ALCS 0-3 (Tigers)
align="center" 91 71 .562 align="center"
1
1st 2,162,717 26,375 Won 1985 ALCS 4-3 (Blue Jays)
Won 1985 World Series 4-3 (Cardinals)
align="center" 76 86 .469 16 3rd (tied) 2,320,794 28,652 -
align="center" 83 79 .512 2 2nd 2,392,471 29,537 -
align="center" 84 77 .522 19½ 3rd 2,350,181 29,377 -
align="center" 92 70 .568 7 2nd 2,477,700 30,589 -
align="center" 75 86 .466 27½ 6th 2,244,956 27,716 -
align="center" 82 80 .506 13 6th 2,161,537 26,686 -
align="center" 72 90 .444 24 5th (tied) 1,867,689 23,058 -
align="center" 84 78 .519 10 3rd 1,934,578 23,884 -
American League Central Division
align="center" 64 51 .557 4 3rd 1,400,494 23,737 -
align="center" 70 74 .486 30 2nd 1,233,530 17,132 -
align="center" 75 86 .466 24 5th 1,435,997 17,950 -
align="center" 67 94 .416 19½ 5th 1,517,638 18,970 -
align="center" 72 89 .447 16½ 3rd 1,494,875 18,686 -
align="center" 64 97 .398 32½ 4th 1,506,068 18,826 -
align="center" 77 85 .475 18 4th 1,564,847 19,319 -
align="center" 65 97 .401 26 5th 1,536,371 18,968 -
align="center" 62 100 .383 32½ 4th 1,323,034 17,182 -
align="center" 83 79 .512 7 3rd 1,779,895 22,819 -
align="center" 58 104 .358 34 5th 1,661,478 21,031 -
align="center" 56 106 .346 43 5th 1,371,181 17,357 -
align="center" 62 100 .383 34 5th 1,372,684 17,158 -
align="center" 69 93 .426 27 5th 1,616,867 19,961 -
align="center" 75 87 .463 13½ 4th

-
Totals 3,003 3,176 .486

Radio and television

As of 2008, the Royals will carry games on KCSP 610AM and KMBZ 980AM depending on scheduling. Most games are expected to be on KCSP, however. The stations replace WHB, which chose not to renew, and KCXM, now a Christian radio station (as KLRX). The radio announcers will be Denny Matthews and Bob Davis, with Steve Stewart and possibly Ryan Lefebvre doing fill-in work.

Meanwhile, the Royals have shut down Royals Sports Television Network, and the full television schedule of 140 games will air on FSN Kansas City, a newly-created branch of FSN Midwest, leaving no over-the-air broadcast outlet for the Royals this season. The announcers there will be Lefebvre, Paul Splittorff, and Frank White. Frank White fills in for Splittorff on a few games.

On February 22, 2007, Matthews was selected as the 2007 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

Mascot

Sluggerrr is the mascot of the Royals. Sluggerrr is a lion and made his first appearance on April 5, 1996. On game day, Sluggerrr can be found pitching in the "Little K" and firing hot dogs from an air cannon into the stands between innings. YouTube.com Video

See also

References

External links

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