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Even The Statues In Kansas City Are Royals Fans

Around Kansas City, spontaneous acts of decoration in hues of royal blue are surfacing in unexpected places. As a result, historic statues are becoming pop-up shrines to the Kansas City Royals. 

Museum staff at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum placed a Kansas City Royals baseball cap on the life-size bronze statue of Truman in the Legacy Gallery. A photograph of the smiling statue can be found on the museum’s Facebook page

Randy Sowell, an archivist at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, says he believes America's 33rd president would have approved. “Oh, I think it’s just a gesture of support in a good humored way,” he says.

Credit Harry Barth / Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Former President Harry S. Truman (center) tossed out the first ball at the Kansas City Athletics opening game at Municipal Stadium, April 12, 1955.

Former First Lady Bess Truman was the most avid baseball fan of the family, but during Truman’s lifetime he threw out many ceremonial first balls, including the first game in Kansas City of the Kansas City Athletics. The team moved here from Philadelphia in 1955. 

“Mr. Truman did have a long association with the national pastime and we have photographs of him, as you might imagine, throwing out the first ball at the beginning of just about every season as president,” says Sowell. “He always made it to the Senators game — the Washington Senators at that time — to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. We have photographs of him doing that right handed and left handed. He was ambidextrous, so he could throw with either hand. One year even he threw two baseballs out, one with each hand.”

Across town, the corner of Westport Road and Broadway was touched with blue after a fan placed a t-shirt over the head of John Calvin McCoy. McCoy is featured at the center of ”The Pioneers" at the Kansas City Pioneer Square monument in Westport. The trio of bronze figures represent Alexander Majors, John Calvin McCoy and Jim Bridger, men instrumental in the development of Westport, once a stop on the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails.

Prairie Village’s monument to pioneer ancestors can be found at the intersection of Tomahawk and Mission Road. Earlier this month, the male figure wore a crown, which has since fallen to his shoulders.

While it is much more difficult to connect the trio of pioneers of Westport and the symbolic pioneer family of Prairie Village to baseball, it is likely that there were a games played on the Kansas City frontier. Today at least, the statues stand in solidarity with Truman in support of the home team.

Julie Denesha is a freelance photographer and reporter for KCUR.

Julie Denesha is the arts reporter for KCUR. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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