Jackson County, MO— Have the Royals decided that the time has come to say goodbye to Kauffman Stadium? Not to worry, the newly renovated stadium will remain but local reports rumor that the Kauffman name will give way to a revenue-building advertising spot. If sources prove to be correct, the “K” may turn out to be the “Ad.” What’s in a name any way? Didn’t Shakespeare teach us that, “a stadium by any other name is still a stadium?” Well, that may not be an exact quote but the idea is the same. You still have peanuts and “Crackerjacks”; one, two, three-strikes, “you’re out” and all that nostalgia. So, what is in a name?
Well, Ewing Marion Kauffman brought baseball back to Kansas City; but if that was all he did, it might not be so difficult for Kansas City fans to take the “K” out of play. A glance at the man whose name was inaugurated to replace title Royals Stadium in 1993 sheds light on a man of entrepreneurial vision, a hero of the old Midwestern work ethic and a true, all-around good name to put on one of Major League Baseball’s most revered baseball fields. He distinguished himself as a World War II patriot-hero, pharmaceutical visionary and eventually, as one of Kansas City’s greatest philanthropists.
In 1942, Ewing was a sailor in the Navy stationed on board a Merchant-Marine vessel escorting a convoy past Cuba during World War II. They were under conditions of “radio silence” due to the risk of submarine attacks. Kauffman calculated that the path of the convoy would lead them too close to the shore-line and so he boldly reported his finding to his superiors. The rout was recalculated, radio silence broken to communicate the find and the result saved three ships of the convoy from certain disaster. This bold certainty characterized Kauffman and his future business endeavors.
But, Kauffman was more than just a bold businessman. He reached his community for betterment and desired to see the world around him rise with him. He saw success and instead of becoming a money-hording skin-flint, he began to help others. He mentored others, forming relationships with men like diamond-guru Barnett Helzberg, Jr. He formed the Kaufman foundation that reaches out to the underprivileged and encourages business innovation. His foundation also has programs detailed to assist veterans today.
So, as a matter of making shrewd business decisions, Mr. Kaufmann himself might put his stamp of approval to the idea of making a few bucks off the stadium name, but to be sure that name will not go lightly. There are many who have known the beneficent contributions of the Kauffman name first hand and hold that name as closely-synonymous with Royals baseball, itself.