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Kansas City Monarchs Win American Association Championship In A Sweep

 The Monarchs celebrate with a team photo after winning the championship title in a decisive fashion.
JOHN ELLIS
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The Monarchs celebrate with a team photo after winning the championship title in a decisive fashion.

The Monarchs swept the best-of-five championship series against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, carrying the winning legacy of its Negro Leagues namesake into a new century.

Kansas City’s independent minor league baseball team, which rebranded itself this year from the T-Bones to the Monarchs, not only drew attention with its tribute to the great Negro Leagues team, but carved its own niche with an American Association championship.

The pregame shower that delayed the game’s start didn’t rain on the Monarchs’ title parade Monday night as they completed a sweep of the best-of-five championship series with a 8-1 victory over the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

Former Kansas City Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando, a member of the 2015 World Series championship team, singled to start the Monarchs’ decisive three-run rally in the third inning. Before signing with the Monarchs in late August, Orlando was playing professionally in Mexico.

“I’m appreciating living here now and have a championship again,” said Orlando, 35, who’s been out of the big leagues since 2018, his final year with the Royals.

The American Association independent league’s 23-man roster typically involves change during the course of a season since its players aspire to have their contract purchased by major league organizations. But the Monarchs had to almost entirely rebuild its team through this season with 22 player contracts purchased by major league organizations.

Still, the Monarchs won 69 regular-season games, the fifth-highest total in the 16-year history of the independent league.

“I’ll share a quote that Mr. K (former Royals owner Ewing Kauffman) used to say, ‘There’s nothing more dangerous than a motivated baseball player,’” said Monarchs president and general manager Jay Hinrichs, who formerly worked in the Royals front office from 1985 through the early 2000s.

Jim&MurielEchols.jpg
Monarchs fans Jim and Muriel Echols applaud the 21st century tribute to the original Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues Baseball.

The championship meant a lot to African American fans in attendance like Jim and Muriel Echols of Kansas City, Kansas.

When asked about the importance of carrying on the same team name as the legendary Negro Leagues team, Jim Echols said, “I think it takes on a whole additional meaning and a whole different dimension.”

Echols argues that it also helps bring baseball back into the consciousness among Kansas City area youths.

“In this contemporary period, most of your youth, African Americans, are interested in football and basketball,” he said. “It has heightened the awareness for the opportunities to play baseball and how much enjoyment they can have with that as well.”

There was plenty to enjoy at a polished-up Legends Field, the home ballpark for a team with a traditional name and a fresh approach for recognizing it.

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