Opened as Royals Stadium on April 10, 1973, Kauffman is recognized throughout baseball as one of the game's most beautiful ballparks. Since then, many exciting games have been contested, including the 1973 and 2012 All-Star Games, three no-hitters, playoff games in 1976, '77, '78, '80, '81, '84, '85 and 2014 and 11 World Series tilts in 1980, 1985 and 2014. The facility was officially renamed in honor of Ewing M. Kauffman in a ceremony at the stadium on July 2, 1993.
Before the 2004 season, the outfield fences in the gaps and in straight-away center field were moved back 10 feet to their original dimensions of 387 and 410, respectively, making Kauffman Stadium one of the most spacious parks in Major League Baseball. In addition, the warning track was changed to a natural surface, and the height of the fence is now at eight feet. The fences were moved in 10 feet from bullpen to bullpen prior to the 1995 season and lowered from 12 feet to nine feet. Also at that time, a grass playing field replaced the artificial surface at Kauffman Stadium.
Kauffman Stadium's unique features include a 322-foot wide water spectacular. The water spectacular opened as the largest privately funded fountain in the world. In keeping with the architecture of the stadium, the existing water spectacular featuring cascading water now extends near the left field corner.
Prior to the 1999 campaign, additional field level seating, known as "Crown Seats" and four dugout suites were added.
The renaming of the stadium was appropriate in that it was the strength and integrity of Ewing M. Kauffman's ownership that provided the cornerstone for the Royals success. Kauffman purchased the club as an expansion franchise in 1968 with the primary and continuous motivation of providing winning Major League Baseball for Kansas Citians.
Kauffman, who founded Marion Laboratories in his mother's basement and built it into a diversified health care company with sales reaching nearly one billion dollars, possessed a sense of daring and an innate ability to motivate those around him. "Mr. K" also gave much personal attention to the Kansas City community, an important philosophy that was inbred into the Royals organization and still remains today.
Among the awards Mr. Kauffman won for his leadership include the Kansas City Press Club's 1973 Man of the Year, an induction into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame and being named one of 20 finalists for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Mr. K passed away on August 1, 1993.