A KC Royals Opening Day scrapbook

The most memorable Opening Days in a writer's baseball life.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
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1995: Baseball returns to Kauffman Stadium

Following the strike that prematurely ended the 1994 season and wiped out the World Series, baseball was in a low place. Outside of Montreal, perhaps no team was more adversely affected by the strike than the Royals. Thirteen games over .500, they were in the thick of the Wild Card race when the work stoppage hit. That was the closest the Royals would come to contention for a long time.

To make matters worse, there was legitimate concern the strike could claim the 1995 season as well. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed and a shortened and delayed 144-game '95 season was agreed upon.

The details of the April 26 opener against Baltimore are less important than the fact that baseball was back. A crowd of 24,170 turned out to see the Royals win 5-1. Unfortunately, the victory wasn't a precursor to a successful season (Kansas City finished 70-74), or an indicator of the Royals' post-strike reality. They finished with a losing record in 17 of the next 18 seasons.

Kevin Appier was fantastic on the mound, outdueling future Hall of Famer Mike Mussina, and Wally Joyner and Bob Hamelin both doubled in runs for Kansas City. For one day at least, Royals fans got to enjoy baseball success again before the bottom dropped out.