Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO, is revered for its iconic and alluring architecture. Home of the baseball powerhouse the Kansas City Royals, the stadium remains the sixth oldest MLB venue. It is a fascinating specimen of modernist ballpark design that swept ballpark construction in the 1960s and 1970s offering a more intimate and enchanting feel for baseball fans. The K is among the eight MLB stadiums that have not sold their naming rights to corporates and the only ballpark to be named after a personality, Ewing M. Kauffman, the founder of the Royals.
Dodger Stadium and Kauffman Stadium are only two stadiums that continue to be baseball-only facilities and are never converted into multi-purpose ballparks.
Kauffman Stadium/ Source: The Kansas City Star
Kansas City came out with a grand plan to build the Truman Sports Complex with separate stadiums for the NFL team the Chiefs and the MLB franchise the Athletics in 1967. The construction of what is now Kauffman Stadium began on July 11, 1968. However, the Athletics, which was based in the city since 1955, moved to Oakland, California, in 1968. This led to public outrage and political threats forcing the MLB to advance its expansions by two seasons from the originally slated 1971 timeline.
Ewing Kauffman-owned the Kansas City Royals began its innings in 1969 at Municipal Stadium. The Royals moved to the new stadium with its opening on April 10, 1973, with the home team routing the Texas Ranger 12-1. Then the ballpark was named Royals Stadium. On July 2, 1993, it was named Kauffman Stadium to honor the man who founded the Royals.
Design & Features
Kauffman Stadium is an example of the modernist ballpark styles that led to a few baseball-only arenas during the cookie-cutter stadium era. Dodger Stadium and Guaranteed Rate Field are only two other surviving specimens of this design. The makers of St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field, the home to the Tampa Bay Rays, borrowed many features from the K while designing their own.
The stadium looks a hybrid of cookie-cutter and multi-purpose styles. While seats provide great, unobstructed views of the field, there are also smaller outfield plazas. Though the upper deck of Kauffman Stadium looks steep, designers restricted its height to enable a better viewer experience. Water Spectacular, the 322-feet fountain at the fence facing the right field, is the world’s largest private fountain.
Kauffman Stadium underwent a major renovation between 2007 and 2010 costing $250 million. A 0.375% increase in sales tax across Jackson County helped fund the project. In return, every household got two 50% discount coupons for home games at the ballpark. The renovated stadium opened with a reduced capacity of 37,903 seats, an outfield concourse, specialized kids’ zone, new press box, four new gates, themed bars, restaurants, a hall of fame, group seats, many other facilities for fans, and fountain view terraces. It also added an HD scoreboard named “Crown Vision,” which is the second largest after AT&T Stadium.
Purely Baseball Things To Know
- Kauffman Stadium hosted MLB All-Star Games in 1973 and 2012. It had its first All-Star Game within four months of its inauguration.
- It was also the venue for the 1980, 1985, 2014, and 2015 World Series.
- The Kansas City Royals won World Series titles in 1985 and 2015 and AL Pennants in 1980, 1985, 2014, and 2015 while playing at this stadium.
- In the inaugural game at Kauffman Stadium, the home team defeated the Texas Rangers 12-1.
- On May 15, 1973, the California Angels’ pitcher Nolan Ryan blanked the Royals 3-0. It was the first of his seven no-hitters. He had his next six against the Detroit Tigers (Jul 15, 1973), the Minnesota Twins (Sept 28, 1974), the Baltimore Orioles (Jun 1, 1975), the LA Dodgers (Sept 26, 1981), the Oakland Athletics (Jun 11, 1990), and the Toronto Blue Jays (May 1, 1991).
- The 1980 World Series, the first at Kauffman Stadium, saw the Royals’ George Brett hitting a home run in the initial game to beat the Philadelphia Phillies. However, they eventually lost the series.
- Brett hit consecutive two homers on October 11, 1985. It was the third American League game against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Royals got a thrilling 6–5 win. The home team won the AL pennant after fighting in four more games.
- The 1985 World Series win by the Royals witnessed Brett’s four hits helping them rout the Louis Cardinals 11–0. Though they have lost the first two games, Brett, hitter Darryl Motley, and pitcher Bret Saberhagen led the fightback to win the series. Saberhagen shut out the Cardinals while Motely hit the winner.
- 2014 was an eventful year at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals came back to beat former Kansas home team the Athletics to win the wild card berth. The AL Pennant and the League Division Series also came to their kitty. However, they lost the hard-fought World Series to the San Francisco Giants.
- In 2015, the Royals won the AL Pennant as well as the World Series.