Kansas City Royals
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Kansas City Royals
After the Athletics left town for Oakland in 1968, Major League Baseball crowned Kansas City, Missouri with a new team called the Royals, named after the city's long-standing American Royal livestock, horse and rodeo show. The expansion club, led by 1969 Rookie of the Year Lou Piniella, recorded its first winning season in 1971. Two years later, big-hitting George Brett made his debut. Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 and became the first player to win batting titles in three different decades.
The Royals fell in their first World Series appearance in 1980 but found success in their second. Making one of the best comebacks in postseason history, the 1985 club rallied behind Bret Saberhagen's shutout in Game 7 to beat their I-70 rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, and take home the trophy. Saberhagen, the MVP of the series, won the first of his two American League Cy Young Awards that year.
The following years brought a lot of change to Kansas City with the emergence of stars Bo Jackson, Carlos Beltran, and Mike Sweeney, but the franchise was dealt a devastating loss in 1993 when longtime owner Ewing Kauffman passed away. Kauffman brought the team to his hometown, established the Royals Baseball Academy, and set up scholarships for high school students. He went out of his way to ensure the team wouldn't become an economic burden and left it to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation after his death, along with nearly $100 million to keep the club running. His succession plan mandated that the team was to remain in Kansas City, and that proceeds from the sale benefit local charities.
The team endured some 100-loss seasons during a dark stretch in the 2000s, but a terrific turnaround took place in 2013 when the Royals went 86-76. This set the stage for a historic 2014 campaign, which saw the franchise return to the postseason for the first time in 29 years. Kansas City rung up a record-setting 8-0 hot streak as a wild card winner led by stars Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, Greg Holland, Alex Gordon, and Mike Moustakas. The Royals won four extra-inning games throughout this stretch before losing to the San Francisco Giants, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series on October 29, 2014.
Named after their beloved owner, Kauffman Stadium was rededicated in 2009 after undergoing a $250 million renovation, and "The New K" became a beautiful landmark boasting a BBQ pavilion, a 10-story scoreboard topped with a crown, and what is known as the Water Spectacular, a 322-foot wide fountain and waterfall display.
Kansas City fans always have a ton of fun with Sluggerrr, the team's lovable lion mascot who was introduced in 1996 and enjoys slinging hot dogs to hungry fans by hand or air gun, a tradition started in 2000. But there's way more than hot dogs at home games; you’ll find tons of tasty treats like pepper jack sausage topped with pulled pork, macaroni and bacon, brisket-smothered nachos and pork wings. Between the great food and ballgames, Kansas City has what fans crave!