Kansas City Royals

1969 – Present

In 1968 Ewing Kauffman purchased an AL expansion franchise that took the field the following year as the Kansas City Royals. In 1971, only their third season, the Royals finished second. Never has an expansion team fared so well so quickly. Three factors contributed to the rapid and sustained success. First, their farm system quickly produced a number of stars, including George Brett, Willie Wilson, and Frank White, and pitchers Paul SplittorffSteve Busby, Dennis Leonard, and Dan Quisenberry. Second, the Royals’ front office made several trades that brought pivotal players to Kansas City, such as Hal McRae, Amos OtisFreddie PatekJohn Mayberry, and Cookie Rojas. And finally, the team employed highly competent field bosses like Jack McKeonWhitey HerzogJim Frey, and Dick Howser, who molded youth and veterans into winning combinations. In their first twenty campaigns, the Royals won a World Championship (1985), two AL pennants, six AL Western Division titles, and seven second-place finishes. They lost three straight bitterly contested LCS to the Yankees from 1976 to 1978 before finally reaching the WS with a sweep of the Yankees in the 1980 playoffs.