Published January 8th, 2020 at 12:15 PM2 minute read
There are two famous royals in the Kansas City area – the Kansas City Royals and the American Royal.
Both boast their own version of the World Series – one competes with a ball and a bat, and the other with smoke and meat. But are they somehow linked?
That’s what a curiousKC questioner wondered. More specifically, they asked, is the baseball team named after the famous livestock show?
The short answer is yes, thanks in part to a man called Sanford Porte of Overland Park. In 1968, the expansion baseball team’s new owner, Ewing Kauffman, staged a contest to determine the best name.
“(Porte) suggested, in recognition of Missouri’s billion-dollar livestock industry, that the American Royal best exemplified that through its pageantry and parade, and that the new team should be named the Royals,” said Bob Peterson, the former CEO of the American Royal, in a 2014 interview with NPR.
But there was once another Kansas City Royals, according to the MLB. Managed by a former Kansas City Monarch Chet Brewer, it comprised Major League and Negro League players for the 1945 California Winter League. A fun fact: Jackie Robinson played for the Kansas City Monarchs and the old Royals.
Indeed, agriculture has played a huge part of Kansas City’s past and present.
The American Royal Livestock Show dates back to 1899, when it was originally known as the National Hereford Show. Initially, the show focused on cattle and horse exhibitions in the West Bottoms stockyard district.
The first show was staged in a tent but soon exploded in popularity. In the early 1900s, the American Royal became famous as a celebration of agriculture. By the 1950s, it added events such as horse shows, rodeo and barbecue competitions.
Kansas City didn’t have a major league baseball team until 1955, when it briefly became the home of the Kansas City (formerly Philadelphia) Athletics. After the Athletics moved on to Oakland after the 1967 season, Major League Baseball moved quickly to expand to 24 teams, including one in Kansas City. The newly dubbed Kansas City Royals played their first game at old Municipal Stadium near downtown in 1969.
And that’s how the city’s two-time World Series champion got its name – to honor the city’s barnyard roots, set smack dab in the agricultural hub of the Midwest.