As fans of the Kansas City Royals prepare for a new owner, it is important that we are honest with ourselves about our previous owners and what reasonable expectations are.
For those of us old enough to remember the 1980s, we were truly spoiled as fans of the Kansas City Royals. Ewing Kauffman loved Kansas City, and he spent money on the Royals while allowing the baseball guys to make the baseball decisions.
The Royals began playing games in 1969. By 1971, they had their first winning season. From 1976 through 1978, they won three-straight division titles. We all know about how our team success would continue to build all the way to the peak of becoming World Series champions in 1985.
What some now forget is that both before and after 1985 the Royals were still perennially a very good baseball team. From 1985 until Ewing’s death in 1993, the Royals had 5 more winning seasons — including a 92-win season that was still not good enough to make the playoffs. Yes, back then it could be ridiculously difficult to get into the playoffs in some years.
And what did Ewing Kauffman do after that 92-win season that resulted in disappointment? He went out and signed the National League Cy Young winner to, what was at that point, the largest annual salary in baseball history.