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Franchise Facts: Kansas City Royals

A few things you may not know about tonight’s opponent

Why Not Canaries? This 1968 cartoon depicts some of the more colorful names that “could have been.”
Kansas City Star
  • In March 1968, Kansas City held a contest to name the team, and among the suggestions were the Batmen, Bovines, Canaries, Caps, Capsules, Cowpokes, Mules, Plowboys and Pythons.
  • The Kansas City’s eventual nickname had nothing to do with royalty, but an annual livestock show held in the city. The team’s board of directors approved the name by a 6-1 vote — the sole dissenter being team owner Ewing Kauffman, who preferred the Eagles, Kings, or Stars.
  • In order to ensure the team remained in smaller-market Kansas City, Kauffman willed the team to a trust, effectively donating the Royals to the city, upon his death in 1993.
  • During the the 1997 expansion that added the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays franchises, the Royals had the opportunity to move to the National League, but declined. The Milwaukee Brewers moved instead.
  • In 2005, the Royals lost a franchise-record 19 games in a row and finished the season 56-106. It was the third time in the four seasons that the Royals had set a record for total losses.
  • The Royals are 49 years old, but George Brett remains the only Royals player in the Hall of Fame who spent the majority of his career (in Brett’s case, his entire career) in Kansas City.
  • Lou Piniella had the first hit in Royals history, and went on to be named the 1969 A.L. Rookie of the Year.
  • In 1992, five-time All-Star and Royals Hall of Fame member Amos Otis admitted he hit with a corked bat for roughly half of his career.
  • In 1971, the Royals created the Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy in Sarasota, Fla., in hopes of polishing some diamonds in the rough on the cheap. The academy lasted just four years but managed to churn out 14 future major leaguers, including Frank White, Ron Washington and U.L. Washington.
  • Fueled by speedster Willie Wilson, the Royals led the A.L. in stolen bases from 1977-80, swiping 778 bags over those four seasons.