History of the Kansas City Royals

From 1976 to 1985, the Kansas City Royals team was one of the best teams in major league baseball, winning six American League West division titles (1976-1978, 1980, 1984, 1985), two American League pennants (1980, 1985) and one World Series (1985). However, the Royals have not seen post-season play since their 1985 World Series win.

The Kansas City Royals team was established in 1969 as an American League expansion team to replace the Kansas City Athletics who had moved to Oakland. The Royals started with good players, including Lou Piniella, and a strong farm system that included future Hall of Famer George Brett. With good players, and under the leadership of manager Bob Lemon, it took the Royals only three years to finish with a winning record. They ended the 1971 season in second place in the American League West division.

The Royals' ownership replaced Lemon with Jack McKeon in 1973 and then replaced McKeon with Whitey Herzog in 1975. Herzog quickly led the Royals to three American League West division series titles (1976, 1977, 1978), but the team lost the American League pennant race all three years to the New York Yankees.

The Royals and Herzog finished in second place in the American League West division in 1979 and a new manager, Jim Frey, was hired for the 1980 season. Frey led the Royals to another American League West division title and to their first pennant win, finally defeating the New York Yankees. They lost the 1980 World Series, however, to the Philadelphia Phillies.

By 1984, after three seasons without post-season play, the Kansas City Royals once again had a new manager, Dick Howser. Under Howser's leadership, the Royals won the American League West division title for the fifth time in nine years. The team at that time included the hot hitting George Brett and young pitchers Bret Saberhagen and Charlie Leibrandt.

The 1985 season marked the Royals' glory season in which they won their sixth American League West division title, their second American League pennant and their only World Series. It would, however, be the last season of playoff games in the Royals' history.

Although the Royals had winning seasons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they were unable to advance to post-season play. Brett ended his career in the early 1990s and the team's management and ownership changed during this time. The death in 1993 of long-time owner, Ewing Kauffman, left the Royals without stable ownership until 2000. This void resulted in huge payroll cuts and the inability to purchase or retain top players. Two players the Royals lost during the mid-late 1990s were Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye.

By 1999, the once championship Kansas City Royals had one of the poorest records in major league baseball, ending the season with a 64-97 record. It was their fifth consecutive losing season. The Royals' misfortunes continued into the new century until 2003 when new manager, Tony Pena, led the team to a winning record of 83-79. However, the following year, the Royals slid down again with a record of 104 losses. By 2005, the Kansas City Royals were an embarrassment to their fans with a 56-106 record, 43 games behind the leader of the American League Central division. Tony Pena quit before the season was over.

The Royals did not fare much better under new manager Buddy Bell, and they again lost 100 games or more in 2006. They had a better record in 2007, winning 63 games and finally not losing 100 or more games. However, it was not enough incentive to keep Buddy Bell and in 2008, the Royals began under the leadership of manager Trey Hillman, the team's fifteenth manager in their 40 year history. The Royals ended the 2008 season with another losing record, 75-87, but it was their best record in five years.

In 2010, Ned Yost was hired as manager of the Royals. The team ended that season with a 55-72 record and only a .433 win percentage. Unfortunately, they have not fared much better in the past two years under Yost's leadership, ending 2011 with a 71-91 record and last year with a 72-90 record.

Source for Information
Wikipedia - Kansas City Royals

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