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Winners of two World Series championships, the Kansas City Royals were founded in 1969 and joined the MLB American League. Starting from nothing, the Royals were able to build up a strong team through trades and a little luck in some talented prospects.
By 1980, the Royals were viewed as a very up and coming team, ready to make a big splash. Advancing to the ALCS, the Royals swept the New York Yankees. They would fall, however, to the Phillies in six games in the World Series. Kansas City would reach the ALCS again in 1984, but not would not break through to the next level until 1985 when they advanced past the Toronto Blue Jays. In a dramatic series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Royals came out on top in game seven for their first World Series victory.
While remaining a top team throughout the rest of the 80s, they were never able to replicate the magic of 1985. Coming into 1990 the team saw a drop off in performance and would enter a period of change following the death of their founder and owner, Ewing Kauffman, and the strike-shortened season of 1994. Selling off talent and not re-signing standout players brought down the team payroll, but also resulted in a lesser product on the field. The Royals fell from a perennial contender to one of the worst teams in baseball. They wouldn’t post another winning record until the 2003 season. Following this, they would go on to losing records another nine consecutive years.
Desperate to inspire a change for the better, the Royals began renovations on Kauffman Stadium. As the stadium changed, so too, did the clubhouse. Ned Yost became manager in 2010 and took over a losing team needing to make some changes. Choosing to call up young players brimming with talent, the Royals saw the emergence of such names as Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez. Kauffman Stadium hosted the MLB All Star Game in 2012, giving a boost to the ball club as well as the city. In 2013, the Royals broke the losing streak by posting a record of 86-76.
Manager Ned Yost pushed his team even further and in 2014, after posting a record of 89-73, the Royals made the postseason for the first time in 29 years. After a dramatic win in the 12th inning via a walk off homerun by Salvador Perez over the Oakland Athletics, the Royals swept the Angels in the ALDS. Rolling right along, KC swept the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS and punched their ticket to the big show, the 2014 World Series.
Kauffman Stadium was rocking for game one of the World Series. However, behind an amazing performance by San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the Royals lost 7-1 and fell behind in the series. Games two and three put KC back in control of the series before a game four loss in San Fran evened the series at two games apiece. Following another loss in game five, the Royals had their backs against the wall, facing elimination in game six. The pressure brought out the best in this club, as they made a statement with a 10-0 victory, forcing a deciding game seven in Kansas City. Heartbreak swept the city as the Royals lost game seven 3-2, with fan favorite Alex Gordon stranded on third base.
Still young, yet experienced and stinging from defeat, the Royals entered the 2015 season on a mission to accomplish the goal they had come so close to reaching just a season before. Posting an AL best 95-67 record, the Royals rallied past the Houston Astros in five games before defeating the Toronto Blue Jays in six games. The table was set for an epic return to the World Series for KC. This time, their National League opponent were the New York Mets. Holding nothing back, the Royals unloaded on the Mets, winning in five games to become champions of baseball again, 30 years after their last title.
The 2016 season saw an 81-81 record for the Royals, missing the playoffs. Deciding between reloading for another playoff push or rebuilding for the future, Kansas City will be a team to watch going forward. The early indication is that they are reloading as they signed first baseman Brandon Moss to a two year deal worth $12 million and former Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel to a two year deal worth $16 million. It will take this kind of spending to keep up against the fierce competition.
Notable players for this ball club include George Brett, Kevin Appier, Amos Otis, Bret Saberhagen, Frank White, Bo Jackson, and Alex Gordon. Additional information pertaining to the Kansas City Royals can be found by clicking here.