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Baseball-Loving Kansas City Businessman Buys Royals

Luke X. Martin
KCUR 89.3
Opening day of the Kansas City Royals on April 10, 2017.

A Kansas City businessman will buy the Royals, the Major League Baseball team announced Friday.

John Sherman, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, is leading a group of local investors to buy the club from David Glass, 83, who has owned the Royals since 2000. 

Sherman will be the third owner of the team, dating back to 1969 when Ewing Kauffman brought an MLB club back to Kansas City after the A's moved to Oakland.

A sale price was not disclosed by the Royals, but Forbes valued the team at $1 billion and a USA Today report, citing an anonymous source, said the deal was worth that price.

Sherman, 64, founded two energy companies in Kansas City and is a minority owner in the Cleveland Indians, the latter he will have to sell to maintain ownership of the Royals. The deal still needs MLB approval.

"Our goal will be threefold: to compete for a championship on behalf of our fans; to honor their passion, their experience and their unwavering commitment; and to carry their hopes and dreams forward in this great Kansas City region we all love — for decades to come," Sherman said in a statement.

Glass “is undergoing health problems, which prompted him to sell the team,” USA Today reported. In a statement, Glass said the decision to sell the Royals was difficult for his family, but he believed Sherman and the other investors "far exceeded our hope for the next caretaker of Royals baseball."

"His love for Kansas City and the game of baseball is well documented as are his philanthropic endeavors in the surrounding communities," Glass said.

During Glass' ownership, the Royals won the World Series in 2015 and came close the year before.

"I will never forget the thrill of seeing over 800,000 people of this community come together on one sunny November day to salute the newly-crowned World Champions," he said. "It's been a fantastic ride."

Among the institutions Sherman and his wife, Marny, have supported are the Truman Presidential Library Institute, Teach for America Kansas City and Notre Dame de Sion School. Sherman is a trustee for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

News of the team's sale first surfaced Tuesday, and former Kansas City Mayor Sly James quickly commented.

“John Sherman is a hell of a guy and would be a tremendous owner,” James tweeted.

Editor's note: John Sherman and his wife are major donors to KCUR 89.3.

Peggy Lowe is a KCUR reporter and is on Twitter at @peggyllowe.

I’m a veteran investigative reporter who came up through newspapers and moved to public media. I want to give people a better understanding of the criminal justice system by focusing on its deeper issues, like institutional racism, the poverty-to-prison pipeline and police accountability. Today this beat is much different from how reporters worked it in the past. I’m telling stories about people who are building significant civil rights movements and redefining public safety. Email me at lowep@kcur.org.
Aviva Okeson-Haberman was the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3.
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