Great Stadiums (6): Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium at 40

This photo barely does this ultra-sleak, modernist-lean stadium justice

This photo barely does this ultra-sleek, Modernist-lean stadium justice

It is now the sixth-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball and will forever be one of the most graceful. I (Evander) have long had a rational fondness for Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

In recent times upgraded with all the amenities of first- and second-wave retro fields, the K (today only the third major-league stadium named after a person and not a team or, way more commonly, a faceless corporation) and its fans saw one of the first of the modern-drainage systems installed during the pass from AstroTurf to grass. Till the Colorado Rockies were born, the Royals probably had the widest-spread fan base—literally—of any club. The last thing management wanted was families driving 150 miles to find a hovering thunderstorm had washed the game away.

Speaking of water, the K features the largest privately funded fountain in the world.

One of the other really neat features of the park is the Buck O’Neil Memorial Seat, honoring the late national-treasure spokesman for the variegated history of the Negro leagues.

The early 1970s is not an era noted for its style: loud sports jackets, mutton-chop sideburns, Fu Manchu or walrus mustaches, blown-dry hair hair hair or razor cuts, impersonal arena-scale rock, multipurpose-Brutalist-reinforced-concrete-by-committee-public-works architecture. Kauffman Stadium is the exception that proves the rule. As seen in the photo, nearby sits Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL Chiefs. Uniquely for its era, each was created to showcase one sport.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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