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Sports Then and Now

Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium Chosen to Host 2012 All Star Game

Posted on June 16, 2010 by Don Spieles

Kauffman Stadium

Wednesday evening in a live event at Kansas City’s Kauffman Memorial Stadium, home of the Royal’s, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the 2012 All-Star game would be played there.

Standing at a podium located at home plate, Selig awarded Kansas City it’s third All-Star game since the Mid-Summer’s Classic was introduced in 1933. That inaugural game, played at Comiskey Park in Chicago, began one of the most beloved traditions in all of sports.

Back in 2006, Selig had told KC that, should a tax referendum for stadium renovations get passed, an All-Star Game would land at Kauffman Stadium between 2010 and 2014. Many expected KC to have to wait until a bit later, as 2012 marks the 100 year anniversary of Boston’s Fenway Park. Fenway would have been an obvious choice, but Selig is anything but predictable.

Kansas City hosted the 1960 All-Star Game at Municipal Stadium and then hosted the 1973 at Royals Stadium.

They Royals have played in the current confines for their entire history. Put together as an expansion team after Charles Finley moves the Athletics to California, the Royals were owned by Ewing Kauffman. Their first season was the 1969 season which saw the Royals go 69-93 under Manager Joe Gordon.

The Royals seemed to steadily increase over the next few years. By 1976 the Royals were in the post season. This was due in no small part to third baseman George Brett. Brett was the home grown boy, having been drafted by the Royals in 1971. The young star lead the league in at-bats, hits, triples, and batting average in 1976, taking the Royals all the way to the ALCS where they lost to the New York Yankees.

30 Sep 1992: George Brett of the Kansas City Royals swings as he make the 3000th hit of his career during the game against the California Angles at Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim, California. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport

Kansas City Royals - George Brett

Over the next ten years, Royals Stadium saw its share of wins. Between 1976 and 1984, the Royals made the playoffs six times, getting beaten each time short of the title. The most famous example of falling short in that stretch was probably their loss the the Phillies in the 1980 World Series. Both teams were playing for their first championship, which of course Philly got after game six.

Then in 1985, it all came together. The Royals faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that year. After a back and forth series full of close games, the two teams squared off for a game seven at – you guessed it – Royals Stadium. There would be no close game that night for the Royals who hammered the Cardinals 11-0 to win the first and only World Series title in Royals history. George Brett batted .360 for the series with a 1.075 OPS. Another Brett, pitcher Brett Saberhagen was the World Sereis MVP for the Royals. He posted a .50 ERA for the series, pitching two complete game victories, allowing only 1 earned run and one walk in his 18 innings of work.

Since that time, the Royals, their fans, and their stadium have yet to see another post season game.

The In July of 1993, one month before Kauffman’s death, the stadium was renamed in his honor.

Even though Kauffman Field is one of the oldest stadiums – sixth, behind Fenway (1912), Wrigley (1914), Dodgers Stadium (1962), Oakland Colosseum and Angels Stadium (1966) – it stands and one of the more comfortable and pleasent places to watch baseball, and it has surpassed many stadiums that came after it, such as Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia, 1971), the King Dome (Toronto, 19770, or the Metrodome (Minneapolis, 1982).

Don Spieles covers Major League Baseball for Sports Then and Now.

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