After the 1967 season, the Kansas City Athletics packed up and moved their franchise to Oakland, California. Already in MLB future plans was an expansion of four teams. Kansas City was chosen as one of those teams. The team, owned by Ewing M. Kauffman, was named the Royals, a spinoff of the “American Royal” livestock show, an event held annually since the late 1800’s. Kauffman’s team took the field for the first time at the start of the 1969 season at the old Municipal Stadium.
The teams initial GM, Cedric Tallis, assembled a team of young prospects and veterans. By the ’71 season, the Royals posted their first winning season which coincided with the team moving to the new Royals Stadium. They would go through a number of managers even though those managers posted winning records. Bob Lemon was replaced after the ’72 season with Jack McKeon who lasted until the end of the ’75 season. McKeon was replaced by Whitey Herzog. Herzog lasted until through the ’79 season and led the franchise to three straight AL West Division Championships but was replaced after finishing in 2nd place after the ’79 season. Herzog was replaced by Jim Frey.
As a manager, Frey led the Royals to the 1980 ALCS where they defeated the New York Yankees to make it to their first World Series. The 1980 Fall Classic had a number of two firsts going for it. It was the first World Series to be played entirely on artificial turf and it was the first World Series since the Cleveland Indians defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1920 and the last series to date that featured two franchises that had not won a championship. The Royals would fall to the Yankees in six games.
In 1983, team owner Ewing Kauffman sold 49% of the franchise to John Fogelman and he hired John Schuerholz as the new General Manager. They would win their 5th AL West Division Championship but were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. The 1985 season would prove to be the breakout year for the Royals as Bret Saberhagen won the CY Young Award after finishing with a 91-71 record. The team was led by Manager Dick Howser and the team was led by Bret Saberhagen. The series would go a full seven games and the Royals walked away with their first (and only to date) World Series Title. The following year, after Howser tried and failed to make a comeback as a player/manager, he was stricken with a brain tumor. He was replaced by Mike Ferraro who finished the season for Howser.
Billy Gardner, who signed on with the Royals in ’87 as the Third Base Coach was bumped up and next took the team reigns as Manager finishing the season with a 76-86 record. John Wathan next took over as Manager for the 1987 season and would stay on until the end of the 1991 season. As the decade of the ‘90’s rolled on, GM John Schuerholz left in 1990 and team majority owner Ewing Kauffmann passed away in 1993 sparking a decline in the team led by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation which operated the team until a new owner was found. The foundation began selling off pieces of the team in an effort to reduce payroll and took it from $40.5 million in 1994 to $18.5 million in 1996. Attendance fell and player salaries rose and the franchise soon found themselves trading their last stallions, Kevin Appier, Jermaine Dye and Johnny Damon.
By the 2002 season, the franchise had dipped to an all time low, losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history. They made a slight return in 2003, posting an 83-79 record but slipped back to sub .500 ball and have not posted a winning season since. At the close of the 2010 season, GM Dayton Moore fired Manager Trey Hillman and replaced him with former Milwaukee Brewers Manager Ned Yost.
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