World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kansas City Monarchs

Kansas City Monarchs
Kansas City, Missouri
Team logo Cap insignia
League affiliation(s)

Negro National League (1920–31)

  • Association Park (1920–23)
  • Blues Stadium (1923-1954)
    • a.k.a. Muehlebach Field (1923–36)
    • a.k.a. Ruppert Stadium (1937–42)
League titles 1923 • 1924 • 1925
1929 • 1937 • 1939
1940 • 1941 • 1942
1946 • 1950 • 1953
Negro World Series titles 1924 • 1942

The Kansas City Monarchs were the longest-running franchise in the history of baseball's Negro Leagues. Operating in Kansas City, Missouri and owned by J. L. Wilkinson, they were charter members of the Negro National League from 1920 to 1930. J. L. Wilkinson was the first Caucasian owner at the time of the establishment of the team.[1] In 1930, the Monarchs became the first professional baseball team to use a portable lighting system which was transported from game to game in trucks [2] to play games at night, five years before any major league team did. The Monarchs won ten league championships before integration, and triumphed in the first Negro League World Series in 1924. The Monarchs had only one season in which they did not have a winning season.[3] After sending more players to the major leagues than any other Negro League franchise, the team was finally disbanded in 1965.


  • Negro National League 1
  • Barnstorming, Negro American League 2
  • Minor league affiliate 3
  • Baseball Hall of Famers 4
  • MLB throwback jerseys 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Negro National League

The Monarchs were formed in 1920, primarily from two sources. Owner Rube Currie and Cliff Bell. Immediate contenders, the Monarchs became bitter rivals to black baseball's reigning power, Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants. After three years of failing to break the Giants' hold on the pennant, Wilkinson fired manager Sam Crawford in mid-1923, replacing him with veteran Cuban star José Méndez, who sparked the Monarchs to the league championship.

Repeating in 1924, the Monarchs participated in the first Negro League World Series, defeating the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale team from Darby, Pennsylvania, in a thrilling ten-game series (five wins, four losses, and one tie). In this series, Méndez had an ERA of 1.42 in four of the games and was responsible for a shutout in the one game he was the starting pitcher in.[4] Motivated by the Monarchs' runaway pennant victory, NNL president Rube Foster changed the league schedule to a split-season format for 1925. Kansas City nevertheless took the league title again in 1925, but lost the World Series to Hilldale when Rogan was injured just before the series began and won one game and lost five to Hilldale.[5] Even though Méndez was the manager, it was still possible to see him on the mound during the few years he held the position.[6] Among the team's regulars during these years were the brilliant-fielding second baseman/shortstop Newt Allen who in the 1924 series alone had an average of .282 and seven doubles [7] and Frank Duncan, one of the best-regarded defensive catchers in Negro League history. Newt Joseph played third base for the Monarchs from 1922 through their NNL years, hitting a composite .284 during that time.[8]

In 1926 manager Méndez returned to Cuba, and Rogan took over as player/manager. He kept up the Monarchs' tradition of fine pitching, as the team's staff over the next few years featured such Negro League greats as Chet Brewer, William Bell, and lefty Andy Cooper. The club traded for legendary Cuban outfielder Cristóbal Torriente, but also permanently lost the services of star shortstop Dobie Moore, whose career ended that year due to a severe off-the-field injury. After winning the first-half pennant, the Monarchs dropped a best of nine playoff to the Chicago American Giants when Rogan lost both games of a series-closing doubleheader to the young Bill Foster (another eventual Hall of Famer). In 1928 the Monarchs narrowly missed a second-half title. They made up for this by copping another NNL title in 1929, winning both halves with the best overall single-season record ever compiled by a Negro League team (62 wins, 17 losses). By this time, the pitcher Andy Cooper who had made a name for himself by playing for seven years with the Detroit Stars had joined the Monarchs and aided them winning the 1929 pennant.[9] Unfortunately no World Series was played that year between the Monarchs and the Baltimore Black Sox, champions of the eastern American Negro League.

Barnstorming, Negro American League

Following the death of the original league, the Monarchs spent several years as an independent team, mostly barnstorming through the Midwest, West, and western Canada. They frequently toured with the House of David baseball team. Hall of Famers Hilton Smith, a pitcher, and Willard Brown, a slugging shortstop/outfielder with a consistent batting average of over .300,[10] became Monarch mainstays during this time. During the 1940s, Willard Brown became the go-to home run hitter for the Monarchs.[11] With Andy Cooper now at the helm, the Monarchs became charter members of the Negro American League in 1937, winning the first league title. Andy Cooper was responsible for leading the Monarchs to bring home the pennant in 1939 and 1940.[12] The Kansas City Monarchs then won the next two league championships and won [13] winning the renewed Negro League World Series in 1942 in four straight games against the Homestead Grays.

At the start of this run the Monarchs acquired their most famous player, Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, who had since his rookie season in 1927 built a reputation as the best hurler in black baseball for the Birmingham Black Barons, Pittsburgh Crawfords, and several other teams.[14] Suffering from an arm injury and generally thought to be done, Paige joined the Monarchs' B team in 1939; by 1940 he had recovered and been called up to the Monarchs' main squad, where he became their top drawing card. Paige was the subject of a lot of stories, both true and folklore, and became a legend to people who don’t even follow baseball. For example, he was known to have known the outfielders to sit on the ground behind him while he struck out the hitter and there was someone on base that could possibly tie the game up. Paige also warmed up before pitching in a game by throwing across a gum wrapper as home plate.[15] Paige led another superb Monarchs' staff that included fellow Hall of Famer Hilton Smith, the veteran Chet Brewer, Booker McDaniels, Jim LaMarque, and several others. They won one last NAL pennant in 1946, but lost a seven-game World Series to the Newark Eagles; in this series, they lost four games and won three.[16]

In 1945, UCLA football star and Army lieutenant Jackie Robinson hit .387 as the Monarchs' shortstop. He became the first Monarch to make the jump to white baseball, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. He broke the minor league color line in 1946 with the Montreal Royals, and integrated the major leagues with the Dodgers in 1947. As baseball gradually desegregated in the late 1940s and 1950s, the Monarchs developed a niche as the foremost developer of black talent for the major leagues. The team sent more players to the majors than any other Negro League franchise, including Robinson, Paige, Ernie Banks, Elston Howard, Hank Thompson, and Willard Brown.

Newt Allen succeeded Cooper as manager in 1941, and was followed by Frank Duncan in 1942. Duncan stayed at the helm through the 1947 season winning two league titles and one world title. After Duncan stepped down, longtime first baseman Buck O'Neil took over. Then Monarchs lost the league title to the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948 which prevented them from appearing in the last Negro World Series. 1948 was also the year that Wilkinson sold the Monarchs to Tom Baird who owned the team through their minor league days in the 1950s.[17] The Monarchs won the league's western division first-half pennant in 1949, but declined to participate in a playoff with the Chicago American Giants, as their roster was depleted by player sales to major league clubs. They won the NAL West Division title in 1950 but did not meet the eastern champion Indianapolis Clowns that year. They won a half-season pennant in 1951 but lost a playoff. O'Neil won his only two league titles in 1953 and 1955, with a last-place finish sandwiched between in 1954 as the Negro American League of the 1950s declined in quality and shrank in size, while in the process grooming a number of eventual major league players.

The Monarchs played their home games in the minor league Kansas City Blues' Association Park from 1920 to 1923, and moved to the Blues' new park, Muehlebach Field, in mid-1923. They mostly barnstormed in the early-to-mid-1930s, but used Muehlebach (later known as Ruppert Stadium or Blues Stadium at different times) from 1937 until 1954, when they went to full-time barnstorming in response to the arrival of the Kansas City Athletics in 1955 because they had to pay more money to use the stadium. To help raise money for the team, Tom Baird let some minor league teams buy some of his players and fired his manager, Buck O’Neil, who became a scout for the Chicago Cubs.[18]

The team was sold to Ted Rasberry and moved its base to Grand Rapids, Michigan, though retaining the name "Kansas City Monarchs". The Negro American League ceased operations in 1962, and the Monarchs finally disbanded in 1965.

Minor league affiliate

The Kansas City Monarchs were one of a few Negro league teams that informally employed a farm team. The Monroe Monarchs played from the late 1920s to 1935, mostly as a minor league team loosely associated with Kansas City.[19]

Baseball Hall of Famers

MLB throwback jerseys

The Kansas City Royals have honored the Monarchs by wearing replica uniforms during regular-season baseball games on several occasions, including July 14, 2001 (at Pittsburgh), July 1, 2007 and May 30, 2009 (at home vs. White Sox), June 9, 2012 (at Pittsburgh), July 21, 2012 (at home vs. Minnesota), August 24, 2013 (at home vs. Washington Nationals), May 18, 2014 (at home vs. Baltimore), and May 17, 2015 (at home vs. New York Yankees).


  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2006-07-27). "Belated Recognition". New York Times ( 
  2. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2006-07-27). "Belated Recognition". New York Times ( 
  3. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Team Profiles: Kansas City Monarchs".  
  4. ^ "The Ballplayers-Jose Mendez". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Kansas City Monarchs - BR Bullpen". - Major League Baseball Statistics and History. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  6. ^ "The Ballplayers-Jose Mendez". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  7. ^ .html "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Personal Profiles: Newt Allen" .  
  8. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Personal Profiles: Newt Joseph".  
  9. ^ "2006 Inductees". Albany Times Union ( 
  10. ^ "2006 Inductees". Albany Times Union ( 
  11. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2006-07-27). "Belated Recognition". New York Times ( 
  12. ^ Goldstein, Richard (2006-07-27). "Belated Recognition". New York Times ( 
  13. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Team Profiles: Kansas City Monarchs".  
  14. ^ Tye, pp. 122–23.
  15. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Personal Profiles: Satchel Paige".  
  16. ^ "Kansas City Monarchs - BR Bullpen". - Major League Baseball Statistics and History. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  17. ^ "Negro Leagues Baseball EMuseum: Team Profiles: Kansas City Monarchs".  
  18. ^ "Kansas City Monarchs - BR Bullpen". - Major League Baseball Statistics and History. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  19. ^ Holway, John (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. Fern Park, Florida: Hastings House Publishers. p. 284.  


  • Only the Ball was White by Robert Peterson (1970) Publisher: Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs NJ) ISBN 0-19-507637-0
  • The Kansas City Monarchs by Janet Bruce-Campbell {1985} Publisher: University Press of Kansas (Lawrence KS) ISBN 0-7006-0343-3
  • The Monarchs 1920-1938, Featuring Wilber "Bullet" Rogan by Phil S. Dixon {2002} Publisher: Mariah Press (Sioux Falls SD) ISBN 1-893250-08-3
  • The Negro Leagues Book edited by Dick Clark & Larry Lester {1994} Publisher: The Society for American Baseball Research (Cleveland OH) ISBN 0-910137-55-2
  • The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John B. Holway {2001} Publisher: Hastings House ISBN 0-8038-2007-0
  • Tye, Larry (2009), Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, New York: Random House,  

External links

  • Negro League Baseball Players Association
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
  • 1920 Kansas City Monarchs Calendar
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.