Royals fans Erica and David Stock took home three souvenirs from the 2014 World Series: tickets, a program and, nine months later, their baby boy, Beckett Kauffman Stock.
The Stocks, who live in Peculiar and are both 29, weren’t exactly trying to expand their family of three when Erica became pregnant right around game one. She was settling into a new career as a nurse; he had just bought a new Dodge Ram pickup truck.
“Apparently we were excited about the World Series,” Erica says. “This baby was definitely a curveball — but a good one.”
It must have been a Blue October love fest.
Heidi and Eric Pemberton of Louisburg, Kan., say their 3-week-old daughter is also a bit of World Series memorabilia.
“We’re thinking game six-ish,” says Eric, 33, a sales manager for a local beer distributor. That was when the Royals crushed the Giants 10-0 and forced game seven.
Eric and Heidi, a 32-year-old nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital, wanted a little sister for sons Kaden, 13, and Brody, 6. They conceived right off the bat and decided to name her Everly Royal, a nod to the team’s “Forever Royal” slogan. Everly’s wardrobe includes Royals blue headbands, KC onesies and booties decorated with tiny gold crowns.
It’s too soon to tell whether the excitement surrounding the Royals’ historic postseason run resulted in a local baby boom. Kansas and Missouri birth numbers for July 2015 — the month most 2014 World Series babies were born — won’t be final until next year. North Kansas City Hospital and St. Luke’s hospitals haven’t seen an increase in births.
But in July, Shawnee Mission Birth Center, which delivered more babies last year than any other hospital in the metro area, logged 473 births, breaking the old record of 456 births in a single month.
“We were wondering if we were seeing a little bit of a boom from all the Royals babies,” says Eva Shay, a labor and delivery manager at the hospital.
Jennifer Wadle of Shawnee, who had son Colin on July 11, says her induction was delayed because the center was short on rooms.
Jennifer, who works in career services at the Art Institutes International — Kansas City, says she and husband Aaron, a 41-year-old client relations manager for a local software company, conceived during the World Series after two years of trying.
“I had just been told the previous month that we would probably never have children,” says Jennifer, 34.
After Jennifer’s friends figured out she was having a World Series baby, they planned a baseball-themed shower and nicknamed her bump “Hosmer.”
Liz and Russ Edgar of Parkville also battled fertility issues before conceiving their 5-week-old son Malcolm, nicknamed Mac. Liz, who works in the retirement industry, and Russ, a building inspector, are fans of the Royals and the Cardinals.
They wanted a World Series baby back in 2011, when the St. Louis team won. But after three years and a devastating miscarriage, they decided to take a break from fertility treatments.
The Edgars, both 32, scored tickets to the 2014 American League Wild Card Game — “the best sports experience of my life,” she says — and tuned in to every exciting inning throughout the postseason.
“Our minds were distracted,” Liz says. “We weren’t so focused on having a baby.”
She took a pregnancy test the day after game one of the World Series and watched two pink lines appear.
Tera Lowe of Kansas City believes the Royals’ lucky streak helped her conceive her 5-week-old daughter Holland, named after Tera’s favorite Royals pitcher, Greg Holland.
Tera, 24, and her husband, Spencer, 26, both work part time as bartenders in the Power & Light District. They say they partied with the players at Hotel Nightclub after the team won the American League Championship on Oct. 15.
“I got Brandon Finnegan to dance on the stage and was drinking from the same champagne bottle as (Salvador) Perez,” Tera says.
A couple of days later, the couple conceived after trying for 18 months.
Lindsey and Alan Diehl of Olathe, both 34, also named their World Series baby after a Royals pitcher.
“Little did we know (Brandon) Finnegan would be gone shortly after our Finnegan was born,” says Lindsey, a pharmacist.
Lindsey and Alan, a wellness coordinator, planned to have three kids but ended up (happily) with four. They’re pretty sure they conceived Finnegan around the time they attended game three of the American League Division Series — “the game Billy Butler stole a base,” Lindsey says. Lindsey was battling morning sickness by game seven of the World Series.
“Game seven was a rough day for me,” she says.
For some Royals fans, finding out they would have a snuggly World Series souvenir helped them heal from their team’s heartbreaking loss.
“That news was a huge pick-me-up,” says Ryan Atkinson of Overland Park.
Atkinson, 32, is a lifelong Royals fan who married a die-hard Oakland Athletics fan. He and wife Lynsey, also 32, were newlyweds at the Wild Card Game. The 12-inning thriller tested the new marriage: When Perez hit the walk-off single that ended the game, Lynsey was devastated and Ryan was ecstatic. The Royals had won their first postseason game in ages.
“It was like not being able to get a date for 29 years, and all of the sudden Scarlett Johansson’s knocking on your door asking you out,” says Ryan, who works in publishing and has freelanced for The Star.
Lynsey, a 32-year-old business manager at a local transportation company, was a good sport for the rest of the postseason run. She didn’t know it, but she was pregnant with their daughter Rae at game seven.
Ryan hopes Rae grows up to be a Royals fan.
“I’ll always have that World Series card in my pocket,” he says.
It might not work. Jason Vassar of Kansas City, Kan., was born on July 31, 1986 — almost exactly nine months after the Royals won the 1985 World Series.
“I always told him he was conceived during the World Series, and he just kind of laughed about it,” says Jason’s dad, John Vassar, who also lives in KCK. “We kind of hoped he would grow up playing baseball, but he never did.”
Jason, who works for a local ink company, is more into football. But he still roots for the Royals.
“I was taught to have pride in your city and support local teams, win or lose,” he says.
Corey Wilson of Kansas City was 3 the last time the Royals won the World Series. He remembers recording the games on ESPN Classic and playing the VHS tape until it wore out.
Wilson’s family couldn’t afford tickets to games at Kauffman Stadium, so he would listen to them on the radio. It was a big deal when he went to his first Royals game in high school.
“We paid money to go see a team that you know is gonna lose,” he says. “Whatever, it was perfect.”
Wilson, a candlemaker, is proud that his 1-month-old daughter Piper with fiancée Michelle Giddens was conceived after the Royals won game four of the American League Championship Series and clinched a spot in the World Series. He even bragged about it on Facebook.
“My yet-to-be born daughter is a 2014 postseason baby,” he wrote on June 21, “and I’m OK with that.”
Piper has a full head of hair, excellent sleeping habits and a built-in connection to her hometown team that will last a lifetime.
“I want this kid to have good, winning baseball,” Wilson says.
“She will always and forever be a postseason baby.”