The Royals Hall of Fame has housed many storied multimedia-rich exhibits since opening its doors in 2009. Explore some of the past exhibits, which include the unique story of Bo Jackson, a look back at Royals "six-hit games" and exhibits highlighting baseball in times of national crisis, loaned to the Royals HOF by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"The hardest thing to do in baseball is to hit a round baseball with a round bat, squarely."- Ted Williams
Hitting a baseball may be the hardest task in sports. Consider the fact that a .300 hitter fails in 70% of his at-bats and yet is rightly viewed as a great success. Now think of the odds for a player to collect six hits in a single nine-inning game. It's a rare feat -- much less common than even the more celebrated no-hitter. In the combined history of the National League (founded in 1876) and the American League (founded in 1901), there have been 272 no-hitters. During that same time span there have only been 96 six-hit games.
Three of those six-hit games have been authored by members of the Kansas City Royals. Since the Royals founding in 1969, no other franchise in either league has more than two. More »
"Whitey (Herzog), knew that he could play Duke anywhere which he did." - Denny Matthews
Few Royals are more true blue than John Wathan. Since he was drafted in 1971 through today, with only a brief interruption, Wathan has served the organization in nearly every capacity. Known simply as 'Duke' -- a nickname earned from his dead-on John Wayne impression -- Wathan has been a key contributor as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster and scout.
Those who devote an entire career to the game are often referred to as 'good baseball men.' John Wathan is that and more -- 'Duke' is truly the Royals' Man for All Seasons. More »
"Anyone who ever saw him play will never forget him. Every game was like a Harry Houdini performance -- you expected to see something you had never seen before." - Joe Posnanski, Sports Illustrated senior writer
As a child his family likened his rambunctious nature to a wild boar. The comparison inspired the nickname that put him on a first-name basis with the country -- Bo.
The Bo Jackson story started and ended with football. But his 'legend' began when he signed with the Kansas City Royals. One of the greatest running backs in college football history, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 pick in the 1986 NFL Draft had decided to play baseball. It was stunning. But could it work? Would he make it? The answers were yes and in spectacular fashion.
The Royals took a chance on a great athlete and Kansas City came away with perhaps the most amazing highlight-reel player baseball has known. He soon became a two-sport star, joining the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders in 1987. Unfortunately, a hip injury during a 1990 NFL playoff game effectively ended his career.
Bo Jackson in a Royals uniform (1986-90) was one of the greatest shows in sports. However, the last two words in his story will always be, "What if?" More »
The simple act of a father and son playing catch in the yard makes baseball special. The game itself bonds generations.
One lament of Major League dads is time missed at home -- they often don't see the joy of a child's Little League years. But Hal McRae, John Wathan and Floyd Bannister got to see something more -- each saw a son's big league dreams come true.
Brian McRae, Dusty Wathan and Brian Bannister give Kansas City a unique trio of father and son Royals. More »
"Obviously I disagreed with the call, so I calmly went out there to question them." - George Brett
George Brett and Goose Gossage had faced off before, but what happened on July 24, 1983, went down in baseball history. It started with another Brett home run in the Bronx that looked to have given the Royals a ninth-inning lead. Then-Yankees manager Billy Martin asked the umpires to check Brett's bat claiming it was illegal because pine tar, used to improve a batters grip, extended too high up the handle. They agreed. Brett was called out, ending the game and starting one of the most memorable arguments ever.
Kansas City appealed and American League President Lee MacPhail overturned the call. On Aug. 18, the game resumed and the Royals closed out the 5-4 win -- waiting nearly a month to get it. More »
Baseball's popularity grew in mid 19th century America when a defining event changed history. The Civil War tore the nation in two, claiming more lives than nearly all other American military engagements combined. The country changed, and baseball was transformed with it.
With shortages of food, clothing and supplies, soldiers faced tough conditions made worse by long stretches of inaction between battles. One cherished escape was baseball, and diaries show the game was as much a part of daily life as military drills. On Christmas Day 1862, a single game played at Hilton Head, N.C., had 40,000 troops in attendance.
After the war, many veterans took their devotion back home, setting the stage for baseball's continued rise as the American game -- our national pastime. More »
When war swept Europe in 1914, the United States stayed on the sidelines -- by 1917, that was no longer possible. Once involved, all aspects of American life were impacted including baseball.
Seen as important for the morale of soldiers and the public, baseball initially continued without much change. Many clubs led efforts to sell war bonds, and ballplayers performed military drills in Spring Training, but few became active service members. After the Selective Service Act began a draft, such exclusions were harder to justify. Major General Enoch Crowder's "Work or Fight" order on July 1, 1918, stated all men of draft age must enlist or be involved in necessary industries -- and though the owners appealed, baseball was not one of them.
Even with a brief extension, the 1918 baseball season ended in September, resulting in the only World Series played outside the month of October until 2001. Many players did then join the service, though few saw battle as the armistice ended the war in November 1918. More »
When the world went to war for the second time in just more than a generation, the United States avoided fully entering the fray until the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Once committed, the war effort again impacted every aspect of American life including baseball.
On the field the game continued -- a plan fully endorsed by President Roosevelt. However, war on two fronts, the Pacific and Europe, was a massive commitment requiring sacrifice from all. More than 16 million Americans served, including more than 500 big leaguers. Some players saw action, while others were assigned non-combat duties often playing for military ballclubs.
At home, the loss of players led to some unusual big leaguers, including one-armed outfielder Pete Gray of the 1945 St. Louis Browns and 15 year-old pitcher Joe Nuxhall of the 1944 Cincinnati Reds. Even the founding of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in 1943 was a baseball innovation created during America's war time effort. More »
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 shook America to its core and remain one of the history-shaping moments that will be forever remembered. In the aftermath, time seemed to stand still as the country worked to understand all that had taken place and pause to mourn those lost.
Major League Baseball was halted in the wake of events and faded from view like many aspects of everyday American life. The unanswerable question was when should we return to 'normal' life. The right moment for baseball was Sept. 17, echoed in the words of St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck that night -- "I don't know about you, but as for me, the question has already been answered: Should we be here? Yes!"
The six day lay off was the longest non-baseball related stoppage since World War I ended the 1918 season. And although this crisis for the country was different then anything that had come before, once again baseball was one of the cultural touchstones that served as a welcome escape on the road to recovery and renewal. More »