YOU WILL LOVE THE ROYALS HALL OF FAME!
The Royals Hall of Fame opened after the All-Star break…and the reviews are in. Everybody who’s been through it that I’ve talked to has given it two thumbs up. If they had 3 or 4 thumbs…they’d give it 3 or 4 thumbs up.
I will attempt to give you a taste of it…but to truly appreciate it you need to check it out for yourself. And allow yourself some time. It’s free with your game ticket by the way. And it is open year-round.
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Located in left field…the first thing you see when you walk in is a giant wall that salutes Kansas City baseball history. On display are lockers with uniforms of the three Royals retired numbers: George Brett, Dick Howser and Frank White.
The first thing many rave about is the film you view before seeing the Hall. It’s in the “Dugout Theater,” an exact replica of the actual Royals dugout except that there are two rows of benches and not one (to accommodate more people). The film gives you the history of baseball in Kansas City, going back to the 19th century…right up to today.
And a wonderful touch, down at the end of the dugout, in the theater, sits a statue of Kansas City treasure, the late Buck O’Neil. The smile and twinkle in his eye will never fade.
Among the many displays: the “Pine Tar Bat” that George Brett made famous 26 years ago. George actually owns the bat, but it’s normally on display at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It is currently on loan to the Royals Hall of Fame until the end of this calendar year.
Here is a great salute to Brett: a giant number “5,” made up of 3,154 baseballs, one for every hit in his great career. Within the “5″ is the bat he used when he recorded his 3000th hit. Upon seeing that bat, George noted that his 3000th hit bat actually has more pine tar on it than his “Pine Tar Bat!”
Another cool feature is the Royals Radio Network booth, with a large window looking out on the field at New Kauffman Stadium. Fans can record their own play-by-play. Sorry, Don Free is not included. He’s the one that makes us look good. Seriously, it’s a fun feature of the new Royals Hall of Fame.
This display is a salute to the “Royals Academy,” a revolutionary concept in the early years of the franchise. The idea was to take athletes and turn them into baseball players. Frank White is one of many Academy graduates. In this display case, you can actually read the scouting report on Frank before he became a Royal.
The man who led the Royals Academy was the late Syd Thrift, a longtime baseball executive. Here’s a photo of Syd’s son, Jim, (on the right) with the Director of the Royals Hall of Fame, a guy who did a super job in putting it together, Curt Nelson. Jim Thrift is currently a scout for the Baltimore Orioles. He and his mother have donated several items to the Hall.
On the day the Hall opened, the Royals played in the Willie Wilson Hall of Fame game. Among those who played was George Brett, here talking with former Royal Willie Aikens. The Royals Hall of Famers were decked out in powder blue from head to toe.
While our radio booth is not a hall of fame, we now have chairs that are “hall worthy.” Here Don Free wheels in one of the new chairs in our radio booth. Pretty nice, eh? They were provided by John A. Marshall Company. It’s the Aeron Chair. We all got chairs that are just the right size for our frames.
Here are the gentlemen who brought them over: Barry Scogin and Stephen Marshall, who’s the great grandson of company founder John A. Marshall. We’ve now test-driven our personalized chairs…and it’s unanimous….like the new Hall of Fame…two thumbs up!