Newly renovated Kauffman Stadium on opening day 2009
|Former names||Royals Stadium (1973-1993)|
|Address||1 Royal Way|
|Location||Kansas City, Missouri|
|Owner||Jackson Sports Complex Authority|
|Operator||Jackson Sports Complex Authority|
with standing room at least
|Record attendance||41,860 (July 26, 1980, Royals vs Yankees) |
|Field size||Left Field - 330 feet (101 m)
Left-Center - 387 feet (118 m)
Center Field - 410 feet (125 m)
Right-Center - 387 feet (118 m)
Right Field - 330 feet (101 m)
Backstop - 60 feet (18 m)
|Surface||Kentucky Bluegrass/Perennial Ryegrass (1995-present)
|Broke ground||July 11, 1968|
|Opened||April 10, 1973|
|Construction cost||US$70 million
($378 million in 2016 dollars)
$250 million (2007-10 renovations)
($275 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Kivett and Myers
Populous (renovations 1997, 2009)
|Structural engineer||Bob D. Campbell & Co. Structural Engineers|
|General contractor||Sharp-Kidde-Webb JV|
|Kansas City Royals (MLB) (1973-present)|
Kauffman Stadium , often called "The K", is a baseball park located in Kansas City, Missouri, that is home to the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). It is part of the Truman Sports Complex together with the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. The ballpark is named for Ewing Kauffman, the founder and first owner of the Royals. It opened in 1973 as Royals Stadium and was named for Kauffman on July 2, 1993. The ballpark's listed seating capacity since 2009 is 37,903.
Kauffman Stadium was built specifically for baseball during an era when building multisport "cookie-cutter" stadiums was commonplace. It is often held up along with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as one of the best examples of modernist stadium design. It is currently the only ballpark in the American League to be named after a person and is also one of ten stadiums in Major League Baseball that does not have a corporate-sponsored name. The stadium is the sixth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball and has hosted the 1973 and the 2012 MLB All-Star Games, along with Royals home games during the 1980, 1985, 2014, and 2015 World Series. Between 2007 and 2009, Kauffman Stadium underwent a $250 million renovation, which included updates and upgrades in fan amenities, a new Royals hall of fame area, and other updates throughout the facility.
In 1967, voters in Jackson County approved the bonds for Truman Sports Complex, which featured a football stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs and a baseball stadium for the Kansas City Athletics, whose owner, Charles O. Finley, had just signed a new lease to remain in Kansas City. This was a very unusual proposal; conventional wisdom at the time held that separate football and baseball stadiums were not commercially viable. Before the 1968 season, however, Finley moved the A's to Oakland, California, and their brand-new multi-purpose stadium.
After the move, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri threatened to press for the revocation of baseball's anti-trust exemption if they did not give Kansas City a new team. Baseball responded by hastily granting expansion franchises to four cities, including a Kansas City team owned by local pharmaceutical magnate Ewing Kauffman. The new teams were due to start play in 1971. However, Symington was not about to have Kansas City wait three years for the return of baseball, and forced MLB to move up the start date to 1969. (The other expansion team in the American League, the Seattle Pilots, were without a suitable stadium in 1969 and the accelerated schedule forced by Symington led to their bankruptcy after just one season; they became the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in 1970. Seattle returned to the majors with the Mariners in 1977.)
Jackson County continued its plans to build a new ballpark. After playing their first four seasons in Municipal Stadium, on April 10, 1973, the Royals inaugurated Royals Stadium with a win over the Texas Rangers.
On October 9, 1976, the Royals competed in their first post-season game in franchise history, losing 4-1 to the New York Yankees at Royals Stadium in the ALCS. The Royals came back to win the next game on October 10, 6-3, for their first post-season win in Royals Stadium.
On October 17, 1980, the first World Series game held in Kansas City featured the hometown Royals against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first at-bat, George Brett hit a home run down the right field line. The Royals would go on to record their first-ever World Series win, 4-3 in 10 innings. However, the Royals would lose the World Series that year in six games.
On October 11, 1985, in Game 3 of the ALCS, George Brett hit two home runs off Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Doyle Alexander, made a back-handed stop at third base to throw out a runner at home, and recorded the final out to give the Royals a much-needed 6-5 win. The Royals went on to win the American League pennant in seven games.
On October 27 of that same year, the Royals clinched their first World Series title in franchise history, winning Game 7 in Royals Stadium. Led by the pitching of Bret Saberhagen, Darryl Motley's two-run home run, and George Brett's four hits, the Royals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0. The Royals were the first team in the history of the World Series to lose the first two games of the series at home and come back to win.
The stadium hosted the Royals' first playoff game in nearly 29 years when the city's former team, the Athletics, came to town for the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. Despite trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning, Kansas City rallied to win the game, 9-8, and advance to the 2014 ALDS. They hosted Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 against the San Francisco Giants in the World Series but lost the series, 4-3.
In 2015, the stadium hosted playoff games as the Royals once again made the playoffs, this time as the highest ranked American League team. Games 1, 2, and 5 of the ALDS against the Houston Astros were played at the stadium, with the Royals winning Games 2 and 5, as well as Games 1, 2, and 6 of the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, with the Royals winning all three games. The stadium hosted games 1 and 2 of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets as a result of the American League winning the 2015 MLB All-Star Game 6-3. The Royals won game 1 (5-4 in 14 innings) and game 2 (7-1), as well as the entire series (4-1).
Kauffman Stadium was the last baseball-only park built in the majors (not counting temporary facilities) from 1966 to 1991. It was one of the few baseball-only facilities built in the majors during the heyday of the cookie-cutter stadium era, and is one of two such facilities (Dodger Stadium is the other) that are still active and were never converted for use as multi-purpose stadiums.1
Although it is a baseball-only facility, its design took several stylistic cues from the multi-purpose stadiums of the day, plus the Googie style that was more prevalent in the decades prior. The main stadium itself is primarily concrete, with a smooth, uncovered concrete facade. The stands wrap around the infield and end at the foul poles, with smaller bleacher sections (or "outfield plazas", as the Royals call them) in the outfield. In their book, The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip, Josh Pahigian and Kevin O'Connell wrote that it is essentially one-third of a cookie-cutter stadium, containing only the seats in a cookie-cutter stadium that provide the best views for baseball. The upper deck is quite steep, though not as high as other parks built during this time. Many minor-league stadiums built in the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, employ a similar design.
By 2000, all of the seats were replaced by blue seats, the lower section seating also getting cupholders.
The park's best-known feature is the fountain and waterfall display (known as the Water Spectacular) behind the right-field fence. At 322 feet (98 m), it is the largest privately funded fountain in the world. The fountains are on display before and after the game and in-between innings, while the waterfalls are constantly flowing.
When the stadium was originally built, Kansas City was the westernmost major league city other than those along the Pacific Coast (1,600 mi. [2,600 km] away), which was a major reason why the Royals initially decided to use a faster-draining AstroTurf surface. The Royals' home territory included a large swath of the Great Plains and Rockies, and Kauffman didn't want fans who drove many hundreds of miles to go home without seeing the game completed. The Truman Sports Complex's legendary groundskeeper, George Toma, best known as the head groundskeeper for every Super Bowl, thus had the job of maintaining two carpets for most of his career. He also maintained the surface at Arrowhead Stadium, which had AstroTurf from 1972 through 1993. However, Toma has said that artificial turf requires a good deal of maintenance as well; his crews were able to keep Royals Stadium's original carpet for two decades, somewhat longer than the typical lifetime for a turf surface. This is also due to the fact that Kauffman Stadium has never hosted a football game, and has no movable seating, thus avoiding the wear and tear typical of cookie-cutter stadiums.
The arrival of the Colorado Rockies, however, removed virtually all of the western portion of the Royals' once-vast home territory. Partly due to this, the stadium's turf was replaced by grass for the 1995 season. When the Royals ripped out the turf, 4 inch (10 cm) perforated tiles were installed at 12.5-foot (3.8 m) centers across the entire field. As a result, the current grass field drains very well. Many newer facilities (and some older facilities through retrofitting) have similar drainage systems to minimize downtime after rain delays.
On April 4, 2006, Jackson County, Missouri voters approved a 0.375% sales tax increase to fund plans to renovate the Truman Sports Complex. As part of this measure, every Jackson County residential address was to receive vouchers good for 50% off two tickets at Royals games on certain nights. The construction began with a ceremonial groundbreaking inside Kauffman Stadium on October 3, 2007, with completion of Kauffman Stadium in time for Opening Day in 2009, and full renovation of the complex (including nearby Arrowhead Stadium) by 2010, depending upon cost overruns. The team committed to a lease that will keep them in Kansas City until 2030, an extension of their current lease expiration of 2015. The improvements to Kauffman Stadium included the following:
The new high-definition scoreboard was one of the first features to be installed. It replaced both the old matrix board in the shape of the Royals logo that had been in the park since its opening, along with the video board that had been installed in 1989. The new scoreboard was ready for Opening Day 2008. It is 84 ft. wide and 105 ft. tall, and was, at the time it entered service, the largest high-definition LED display in the world. The Kauffman Stadium screen was eventually surpassed by the new scoreboard at Seattle's Safeco Field in 2013. The display was assembled in 55 separate segments, including an active bottom taper to resemble the shield in the Royals logo. The video scoreboard alone cost $8.3 million, and the control room that operates it is staffed with 17 people on game days. It was adorned with a crown during the 2008 offseason. Strobe lights atop the scoreboard flash after every Royals home run.
A second proposal on the April 2006 ballot would have installed a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex. The roof could have been moved to cover either Kauffman Stadium or Arrowhead Stadium when needed. The measure failed at the polls.
Beginning with the 2007 season, the Royals had a red seat placed in the stadium amongst the all-blue seats behind home plate to honor Buck O'Neil. Every game, there will be a person who embodies the spirit of Buck O'Neil selected from community nominees to sit in that seat, formerly occupied by O'Neil. The seat is located behind home plate in what was Section 101, Row C, Seat 1, until 2008. Due to the stadium renovations and accompanying section renumbering in 2009, the seat number is now Section 127, Row C, Seat 9, and the seat bottom is now padded. O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League from 1937 to 1955.
4 statues lay out in the outfield concourse behind the fountains. Three of the statues are located in right field (George Brett, Dick Howser and Frank White Jr.) and in left is the former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman and his wife Muriel.
^Note 1 : Candlestick Park (1960), Anaheim Stadium (1966), and Jarry Park Stadium (1969) were all originally built as baseball-only facilities. Candlestick Park has closed and has since been demolished, and Jarry Park Stadium was renovated into Stade Uniprix, a tennis-specific stadium with only a small portion of the original stadium present. Both Candlestick Park and Anaheim Stadium were converted to multi-purpose facilities. Anaheim Stadium, now known as Angel Stadium of Anaheim, was re-converted into a baseball-only facility in 1996.