Kansas City T-Bones
The Kansas City T-Bones are a professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Kansas, in the United States. The T-Bones are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The T-Bones played their home games at Just Bats Field at T-Bones Stadium (formerly CommunityAmerica Ballpark) from 2003, when the team started as a member of the Northern League, through 2019. In 2011, the team joined the modern American Association. In 2018, the T-Bones won their first-ever American Association Championship by defeating the St. Paul Saints.
|Kansas City T-Bones|
|League||American Association (South Division)|
|Location||Kansas City, Kansas|
|Ballpark||Just Bats Field at T-Bones Stadium|
|League championships||2 (2008, 2018)|
|Division championships||1 (2019)|
|Colors||Red, Navy, Gold, White|
|Retired numbers||1 (Dennis Pierce) 22 (Buck O'Neil)|
|Ownership||Mark Brandmeyer / Max Fun LLC|
|General Manager||Chris Browne|
|Media||Kansas City Kansan, The Kansas City Star|
The team was founded in 1993 as the Duluth–Superior Dukes (representing Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin), a charter member of the Northern League. The Dukes were mostly unsuccessful in their history, but won the Northern League championship 1997, though league records do not reflect such continuity.
The T-Bones broke ground on T-Bones Stadium September 4, 2002, and just over nine months later played their first home game on June 6, 2003.
The team's mascot is named "Sizzle".
Northern League 2003–2010Edit
In their inaugural season, the T-Bones finished 43-46, but enjoyed a banner season from Eddie Pearson, who led the league in batting average (.362), RBIs (78), and hits (124) and was named 2003 Northern League Most Valuable Player.
The T-Bones finished the regular season with a 48–48 record. However, the T-Bones won the second-half South Division title and faced the Schaumburg Flyers in the first round of the playoffs. The T-Bones lost the best-of-five series 3-2. For the year, T-Bones player Eddie Pearson received the Most Valuable Player award, Rick Muntean received co-executive of the year, and the entire team received Organization of the Year. Several League Records were set by T-Bones players: Jonathan Krysa set records for innings pitched (165.1), total batters faced, and games started (24); Rick Prieto set new records for walks (78), and runs (97), while tying the league record for triples (10); and Eddie Pearson set the intentional walks record with 17.
The T-Bones finished 45–49 overall. They finished second in the first half with a record of 27–19, just missing the playoff berth, but never contended in the second half due to the loss of several key players.
Jonathan Krysa was named Northern League Pitcher of the Year with a record of 13–5 and a 3.74 ERA. However, the T-Bones finished third in both halves of the season. They led the second-half race until the final week, when a disastrous season-ending road trip ended their hopes. On Oct. 16, 2006, the T-Bones announced the firing of manager, "Dirty" Al Gallagher, who had been the team's first and only manager. Andy McCauley replaced him. Gallagher took another managing job with the St. Joseph Blacksnakes.
- 2006 Northern League All-Star Game
The T-Bones hosted the Northern League All-Star Game on July 18, 2006 in front of 5,975 fans. Eight T-Bones were selected to the East Division squad, which won the game 7-6, scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Kansas City closer Byron Embry earned the win and T-Bones infielder Chad Sosebee drove in the winning run.
The highlight of the night, though, was the appearance of 94-year-old Buck O'Neil, a former Kansas City Monarchs star who took one at-bat for each side, drawing walks each time. He became the oldest person to ever appear in a professional baseball game.
The team hired former Schaumburg manager Andy McCauley to replace Gallagher. The team began 2007 with only two players carried over from the previous season, and released them by mid-season for a 100% turnover of its 22-man roster. The T-Bones finished deep in last place in the Southern Division in the first half, but moved into the lead during the second-half and held that lead until a late-season collapse left them in a disappointing second-place finish. The team's overall 44-52 record was one game worse than the previous season's franchise record. Despite their disappointing finish, the organization was named Northern League Organization of the Year.
The Northern League contracted to six teams, and a single-division full season schedule was used. The T-Bones finished only marginally better (46-50) than the two previous seasons, but nonetheless qualified as the fourth team in the playoffs. They shocked the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks in the semifinal round of the playoffs, sweeping them in three games, and then defeated the Gary SouthShore RailCats three games to one to win the Northern League championship.
The T-Bones matched their previous season's record (46-50) and finish (fourth in a six-team league), but could not advance past the first round, losing that series 3-2 to Gary. Shortly after the end of the season, the team announced that hitting coach Tim Doherty had been promoted to manager for the following season, replacing Andy McCauley.
The Northern League expanded to eight teams again, but maintained the same playoff format, allowing the top four finishers into the post-season. The T-Bones enjoyed their most successful season under new manager Tim Doherty, winning 58 games and setting a new league record with 162 home runs, exceeding the previous high by more than 30%. They led through much of the year, but faded in the stretch to finish in second place, three games behind Fargo-Moorhead. T-Bones second baseman Jason Blackwood led the Northern League in home runs (31), RBI (86), runs scored (82), hits (141), total bases (271), and slugging percentage (.636) while finishing third in batting average (.331), and was named 2010 Northern League Player of the Year. The team beat Joliet three games to two in the first round of the playoffs, but were swept in three games by Fargo-Moorhead in the finals. The T-Bones were named Northern League Organization of the Year for the second time in four seasons, and CommunityAmerica Ballpark was named "Northern League Playing Surface of the Year" for the second straight season.
American Association 2011-presentEdit
On October 13, 2010, the T-Bones left the Northern League, along with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Gary SouthShore RailCats, and the Winnipeg Goldeyes to join the American Association for the 2011 season. The team fell out of the race early and finished fifth and last in their division, though their record (48-52) was better than any third-place finisher in the other two divisions. Outfielder Ray Sadler was the offensive leader, hitting .315 with 22 HR (2nd in the AA) and a league-leading 100 RBI. Outfielder Keanon Simon led the team with a .332 BA and tied for the league lead with 16 triples, while catcher Kala Kaaihue tied Sadler with 22 HR. Kris Johnson finished 3rd in the AA with a 3.23 ERA.
The T-Bones, in their second year in the American Association, finished second in their division with a 51-49 record, but did not qualify for the playoffs. This was the first season for the T-Bones under Kenny Hook.
The T-Bones finished in 3rd in their division with a 40-60 record, posting the worst record in franchise history. After the season, manager Kenny Hook's contract was not renewed.
Kansas City's record improved to 48-52 under first-year manager John Massarelli, finishing third in the Central Division.
Despite finishing second in their division, the T-Bones were left in the dust by Sioux City, finishing 26.5 games behind the Explorers while posting a 49-50 record.
In a tight Central Division that saw the top three teams finish two games apart, the T-Bones were the lone team left out of the division race, finishing in last place with a 42-58 record. Despite this, second baseman Brett Wiley was named a postseason American Association All-Star. John Massarelli did not return as manager after this season.
Before the season, the T-Bones hired longtime Can-Am League manager Joe Calfapietra. The move paid immediate dividends as the T-Bones posted their best season since moving to the AA, finishing 57-43, tying the Gary SouthShore RailCats and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks for the American Association wild card slot. The RailCats, however earned the playoff spot on a tiebreaker. Closer Cody Winiarski was named American Association Reliever of the Year.
The T-Bones posted their best season in franchise history, going 62-37. They finished 8.5 games behind Sioux City, but ended 1.5 games ahead of Wichita, securing their first playoff berth since moving to the American Association. They ousted Sioux City in five games, moving on to face St. Paul in the American Association finals, where the T-Bones prevailed in four games for the first AA crown and second league title in franchise history.
Pitcher Tommy Collier led the league with 12 wins and 140 strikeouts, while Todd Cunningham was named an American Association Postseason All-Star. Joe Calfapietra earned the Manager of the Year award.
After trailing by ten games in late July, the T-Bones rallied to capture their first division crown, winning the South Division with a 58-42 record, one game ahead of both Sioux City and the Cleburne Railroaders. In the playoffs, Sioux City eliminated Kansas City in four games.
Following years of sliding attendance and mounting debt, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas evicted the T-Bones from T-Bones Stadium on October 14, 2019 for failure to pay nearly $700,000 of rent and utility payments. Days later, the Unified Government approved a stadium lease with an organization trying to purchase the T-Bones. The purchase was completed. The new five-year lease has three five-year options.
In 2020, the league announced that the T-Bones were not selected as one of 6 teams to participate in a condensed season as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will go on hiatus for the season, with plans to return in 2021. The T-Bones partnered with the Unified Government and the Kansas City Royals, the Major League Baseball franchise across the river in neighboring Kansas City, Missouri, to host a group of Royals players and coaches at T-Bones Stadium as the club's "second site" for summer training.
|First Half||Second Half||Overall|
|2003||NL||West||20–25||4th||23–21||2nd||43–46||.483||Did not qualify||Al Gallagher|
|2004||NL||South||20–28||4th||28–20||1st||48–48||.500||Lost semi-final 2–3||Al Gallagher|
|2005||NL||South||27–19||2nd||18–30||5th||45–49||.479||Did not qualify||Al Gallagher|
|2006||NL||South||22–26||3rd||23–25||3rd||45–51||.469||Did not qualify||Al Gallagher|
|2007||NL||South||18–30||4th||26–22||2nd||44–52||.458||Did not qualify||Andy McCauley|
|2008||NL||N/A||4th||46–50||.479||Won semi-final 3–0; won championship 3–1||Andy McCauley|
|2009||NL||N/A||4th||46–50||.479||Lost semi-final 2–3||Andy McCauley|
|2010||NL||N/A||2nd||58–42||.580||Won semi-final 3–2; lost championship 0–3||Tim Doherty|
|2011||AA||Central||5th||48–52||.480||Did not qualify||Tim Doherty|
|2012||AA||Central||2nd||51–49||.510||Did not qualify||Ken Hook|
|2013||AA||Central||3rd||40–60||.400||Did not qualify||Ken Hook|
|2014||AA||Central||3rd||48–52||.480||Did not qualify||John Massarelli|
|2015||AA||Central||2nd||49–50||.495||Did not qualify||John Massarelli|
|2016||AA||Central||4th||42–58||.420||Did not qualify||John Massarelli|
|2017||AA||Central||3rd||57–43||.570||Did not qualify||Joe Calfapietra|
|2018||AA||South||2nd||62-37||.626||Won semi-final 3–2; won championship 3–1||Joe Calfapietra|
|2019||AA||South||1st||58–42||.580||Lost semi-final 1–3||Joe Calfapietra|
- 2004 season: Lost to Schaumburg 3-1 in semifinals.
- 2008 season: Defeated Fargo-Moorhead 3-0 in semifinals; defeated Gary 3-2 to win championship.
- 2009 season: Lost to Gary 3-2 in semifinals.
- 2010 season: Defeated Joliet 3-2 in semifinals; lost to Fargo-Moorhead 3-0 in championship.
- 2018 season: Defeated Sioux City 3-2 in semifinals; defeated St. Paul 3-1 in championship.
- 2019 season: Lost to Sioux City 3-1 in semifinals.
Kansas City T-Bones roster
|Active (22-man) roster||Coaches/Other|
- Hardy, Kevin (February 25, 2020). "Owner plans new bars, pickleball, food at KC T-Bones stadium". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Mense, Brennan (September 16, 2018). "Kansas City T-Bones rally again, clinch American Association championship". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
- "Northern League 2006 All Star Game Box Score". NLfan.com. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
- "O'Neil, 94, walks twice in minor league all-star game". ESPN. Associated Press. July 18, 2006. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
- "Four Clubs Added to American Association" (Press release). American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- Hardy, Kevin (October 14, 2019). "Wyandotte County evicts T-Bones for unpaid rent, utilities". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 16, 2019.
- Hardy, Kevin (October 17, 2019). "New Kansas City T-Bones owners say upgrades will bring more than baseball to stadium". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
- Spedden, Zach (February 26, 2020). "Kansas City T-Bones Plot Future Under New Ownership". Ballpark Digest. August Publications. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
- "American Association unveils plans for 2020 season". americanassociationbaseball.com. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Kappel, Nick (July 17, 2020). "Royals and T-Bones Agree to Second "Summer Camp" Home". Royal Rundown: The official MLB.com blog of the Kansas City Royals. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- T-Bones web site
- Kansas City Star T-Bones articles
- nlfan.com Kansas City T-Bones Guide
- nlfan.com Duluth–Superior Dukes Guide
- nlfan.com – yearly league standings & awards
- 2020 American Association media guide
St. Paul Saints
| Northern League Champions
Gary SouthShore RailCats
| Northern League Champions
Kansas City T-Bones
| American Association Champions
Kansas City T-Bones
St. Paul Saints