with the 40th anniversary of the kansas city royals happening this year i decided to look into their history a little more intentionally. i was sort of confused – i knew that kauffman stadium (then royals stadium) was built in 1973, and with all the renovations happening this year i thought the big 40th anniversary hooplah was because of the stadium. but 2009 – 1973 ≠ 40. i’d forgotten that the royals played at municipal stadium for 3 years before first taking the field on the turf at royals stadium in 1973.
municipal stadium was primarily the home of the negro league’s kansas city monarchs from 1923-1955. it also hosted the the kc blues during the same time as the monarchs, the kc athletics from 1955-67 before moving to oakland, and the chiefs for 8 incredible years until 1971. buck o’neil played there from 1938-1955 and jackie robinson called municipal stadium home for two years before he broke the color barrier in the major leagues in 1947.
the ballpark was demolished in 1976 and replaced by a public garden, but today it is being replaced with a housing development. for some reason this really saddens me. there was a terrific history at municipal stadium, and it sure would’ve been an awesome attraction to add to the 18th and vine district around kansas city missouri. now there’s just a lame sign that’s meant to remember the great history there. it seems like a disgrace to me. i haven’t actually been there, read the sign and explored the surrounding area, but just the fact that i haven’t heard much of anything about municipal stadium in my 23 years of calling kansas city home doesn’t say much for how well the old stadium is being remembered. (also check out old downtown kc in the distance of the pic to the left.)
maybe i’m just a sucker for baseball stadiums. actually, that’s exactly what it is. it’s an incredible blend of architecture and recreation that you don’t get in any other sports. there is no other sport that features asymmetry and different dimensions between ballparks. one could possibly argue that golf offers this, but in terms of building architecture there is no comparison. basketball, football, soccer, hockey – they all have specific dimensions. baseball stadiums all have their special quirks and unique feels to them. shorter fences, longer fences, higher fences and smaller ones, a small hill in center field, brick walls or ivy in the outfield, tough angles and nooks in the left and right field corners, etc.
i just find it astonishing that they demolished it and have replaced it with a bunch of houses. it seems disrespectful for some reason – especially to a stadium with the extensive negro leagues history as municipal had. obviously we can’t get it back, but it’s fun to wish it was still around.
in other news: john buck just hit a triple…just wanted to show billy butler how to do it.
EDIT: john buck just hit ANOTHER triple.