As players and owners work through a high-stakes work stoppage, both sides are driven by concerns for their respective futures. At the helm of the KC Royals is principal owner John Sherman, but how much do you know about him and how he got to where he is today?
The answer is probably “Not much.”
Sherman’s profile on the club’s official website provides very little about Sherman’s personal life. The billionaire headed investors who purchased the team in late 2019 from David Glass when Glass decided to sell the club, reportedly for health reasons.
Sherman has quickly become involved with MLB leadership, serving on the Executive Council and Ownership Committee among other leadership positions.
KC Royals CEO John Sherman’s successful business background and ventures.
After obtaining his degree from Ottawa (Kansas) University, Sherman headed into the business world and seems to possess a bit of a Midas Touch.
After starting his propane career with Ferrellgas, and according to the Royals’ website, Sherman founded propane marketing company LPG Services Group, which became one of the country’s largest wholesale propane marketers before it successfully merged with Dynegy. Sherman also started up Inergy, L.P., which eventually became Crestwood Holdings. The resulting entity is Crestwood Equity Partners, L.P.
The KC Royals’ John Sherman broke into baseball with another AL Central team.
After a courtship that spanned more than a year, Sherman purchased a minority ownership in the Cleveland Indians—now Guardians—in 2016. He immediately helped the Indians make moves that helped get them to the 2016 World Series, which they lost to the Chicago Cubs, breaking one long title drought while extending another at the same time.
Sherman was Cleveland’s Vice Chairman and was reportedly a possibility to take over the team if owner Paul Dolan decided to sell. He pursued the Royals, who are closer to his roots and a team for which he previously held season tickets.
John Sherman continues Royals ownership’s involvement in the community.
Following the lead of the Royals’ original owners, Ewing and Muriel Kauffman, and then Glass, Sherman is using his influence and resources to help make a difference in the community. The team website points out that he and wife Marny established the Sherman Family Foundation, which helps education in Kansas City and the surrounding area; Sherman, a philanthropist, also helps lead the Ewing Muriel Kauffman Foundation and serves on a variety of other local boards and committees.
In November, Major League Baseball recognized the Royals with the Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence. The Royals were honored for making the club’s Urban Youth Academy available as a resource to provide educational support for area youth as well as use as an access point for voting and COVID vaccinations.
Calling him a “Successful entrepreneur. Dynamic civic leader. Generous philanthropist.” the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce named Sherman the 2021 Kansas Citian of the Year at its 2021 awards banquet. Past recipients include Ewing Kauffman and Lamar Hunt, the first owner of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Not surprisingly, and as detailed on the club’s website, Sherman has won a plethora of other local honors.
The Royals have a history of long ownership tenures and on-field success. Under the Kauffmans, the Royals won the 1985 World Series and a number of division titles. With Glass and his family, the Royals played in two straight World Series, winning it all in 2015.
What will be the Royals’ legacy under John Sherman’s leadership?