Municipal Stadium Kansas City

Kansas City Municipal Stadium was a baseball and football stadium that formerly stood in Kansas City, Missouri and was used by the Royals until what is now called Kauffman Stadium was completed.

The stadium hosted the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, the Kansas City Athletics of the AL from 1955-1967, the Kansas City Royals of the AL from 1969-1972, and the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL and NFL from 1963-1971. It also hosted the minor-league Kansas City Blues from 1925-1954.

Municipal Stadium was originally built as Muehlebach Field in 1925 for the minor-league Blues, costing $400,000. The stadium consisted of a single-decked, mostly covered, grandstand extending from the right field foul pole down around most of the left field line. When the New York Yankees bought the Blues for their farm system in 1937, the stadium was renamed Ruppert Field in honor of the Yankees owner, Col. Jacob Ruppert. Ruppert died two years later, and the stadium was renamed Blues Stadium in 1943.

The Athletics announced that they would move to Kansas City in November, 1954, and the stadium was quickly renovated and expanded. An upper deck was built atop the original stands, and the facility – renamed Municipal Stadium – was ready by Opening Day in 1955. The scoreboard from Braves Field was bought and moved to Kansas City. Temporary bleachers were also added in the left field corner and parts of the outfield. The bleachers were shifted somewhat around from year to year.

Municipal Stadium was home to many of the shenanigans of A's owner Charlie Finley, including his attempt to shorten the rather distant fences by creating a 296-foot Pennant Porch in right-field, fronting a tiny bleacher section, to mock the famed short fence in right field at Yankee Stadium, home of the powerful Yankees. The move was quickly vetoed by the league. So Finley rebuilt the fence to the bare legal minimum of 325 feet, and repainted the fence to say One-Half Pennant Porch. Later he tried the ruse of putting a canopy over the little bleacher, which just happened to have an extension that reached out 29 feet over the field. The league, not amused by Finley's sense of humor, again ordered him to cease and desist. According to legend, on a road trip that the A's made to New York, a Yankee hitter lofted a long fly ball to left field which, in the cavernous left field of Yankee Stadium, became a routine out. Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard is alleged to have then said over the microphone, "In Kansas City, that would have been a home run."

A small zoo and picnic area stood behind the right-field fence. It housed the team mascot, a mule appropriately named "Charlie O". A mechanical rabbit, nicknamed "Harvey," rose out of the ground with new baseballs for the umpire and a compressed-air device blew dirt off of home plate.

During the years when two All-Star Games were scheduled each year instead of one, Municipal Stadium hosted the first of the two 1960 games, with the NL winning the contest 5-3.

When the Dallas Texans of the AFL were bought by Lamar Hunt and moved to Kansas City in 1962, becoming the Kansas City Chiefs, Municipal Stadium was readied for football. Temporary stands were erected in left field to expand the stadium's capacity each fall, but had to be removed during the baseball season.

On September 17, 1964, The Beatles played Municipal Stadium as part of their first U.S. tour. The date was originally supposed to be an off-day for the band, but they agreed to perform when Finley offered their manager, Brian Epstein, a then-record sum of $150,000.

As Municipal Stadium aged, it became clear that new facilities would be needed, and public bonds were issued in 1967 to fund a complex including separate football and baseball stadiums. After the A's left for Oakland, the Royals used Municipal Stadium as a temporary home.

The Chiefs' final home game at Municipal Stadium was played on Christmas Day in 1971. The double-overtime playoff contest (a loss to the Miami Dolphins) remains the longest game in NFL history.

After the 1972 baseball season, Municipal was replaced by Kauffman Stadium for the Kansas City Royals and the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium for the Kansas City Chiefs. Municipal Stadium was demolished in 1976, and a municipal garden now stands on the site.

Ball Parks of Yesterday, Baseball History, Charles Finley, Kansas City Athletics, Kansas City Royals, Municipal Stadium (Kansas City)


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