The Crown Jewel
Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, is known as one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of Major League Baseball. While being visually alluring, the stadium also boasts a rich tradition, standing as the sixth oldest active stadium.
Building a Castle
The plan for Kauffman Stadium began in 1967 when Jackson County approved the building of a baseball stadium for the Kansas City Athletics and a football stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was unusual in that time period to build two separate stadiums and many critics believed that two stadiums could not be supported. Then before the 1968 season, the Athletics were moved to Oakland. Responding to outrage in the Kansas City area, the MLB granted expansion franchises to multiple cities including a Kansas City team, owned by Ewing Kauffman. These teams were set to begin play in 1971, but the starting season was moved up to 1969 due to pressure from the cities.
Jackson County continued planning the new park, and Royals Stadium opened on April 10, 1973. This provided a new home for the Kansas City Royals who had played the franchises’ first four seasons at Kansas City Municipal Stadium. In a ceremony on July 2, 1993 the ballpark was officially renamed Kauffman Stadium in honor of Ewing Kauffman. The stadium remained relatively unchanged for years until 1900 when a jumbo-tron video screen was installed. Then, before the 1998 season, the astroturf was removed and the field was resurfaced with grass. By 2000 blue seats were installed in the stadium, replacing the original orange ones. Lastly, in 2007 a $250 million two-year renovation plan was unveiled, making vast improvements to the stadium.
Did you Say Free Donuts??
I visited Kauffman Stadium in 2003 with my family during a visit to my dad’s cousins. I fell in love with the stadium’s design. It had an elegant look, but the atmosphere was relaxed and fun-loving. The fountain and waterfall display behind the home run fence was the coolest thing I had seen in a baseball stadium. Also, the crown scoreboard, from my perspective as a young girl, was absolutely breathtaking. While the architecture was quite magnificent, my favorite part of Kauffman Stadium was the donut promotion. The Kansas City Royals began a Krispy Kreme Donut promotion in 2003. If the Royals recorded 12 hits, each ticket for that game could be redeemed for a dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts. That’s right, each fan could receive a donut per hit if the 12 hit mark was reached. It seems crazy, but this promotion lasted through the 2006 season. At the game we attended, it just so happened that the Royals recorded 12 hits. Never have donuts been more delicious than those free ones.
Ruling Through the Decades
This year, Kauffman Stadium celebrates its 40th season. Since 1973, The K has hosted over 70,638,469 fans, two all-star games, three no-hitters, playoff games in seven seasons, and two World Series. Those statistics don’t even begin to describe the countless pitches thrown, hits recorded, or hours of baseball played. Most importantly, those numbers can’t account for the priceless experiences had at the stadium. Kauffman Stadium has thus far stood the test of time, making an impact on anyone entering the gates.