The Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat returns to Kauffman Stadium this season, and the first honoree pays tribute to another great Kansas Citian.
Kay McGuff, the widow of former Kansas City Star editor Joe McGuff, gets the seat for the Royals’ home opener on April 4.
Joe McGuff, who died in 2006, joined The Star as a reporter in 1948, became a columnist in 1966 and became one of the region’s most influential sports voices. In 1986, he became the editor and vice president of The Star and the morning Kansas City Times and oversaw the merger of the newspapers.
McGuff retired from the newspaper in 1992, the year The Star won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. He was elected to the Royals Board of Directors in 1994 and helped steer the franchise through the succession plan of Ewing Kauffman, who died in 1993, all the way to David Glass’ purchase of the team in 2000.
McGuff played an instrumental role in bringing baseball back to Kansas City when the A’s left for Oakland after the 1967 season. The city was without major-league baseball for only one year, until the Royals’ debuted in 1969.
McGuff was enshrined in the writers’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.
The Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat is named for the man who left an indelible mark on baseball, Kansas City and the Royals. O’Neil was a player and manager for the Monarchs of the Negro Leagues and broke racial barriers as the first black major-league coach.
Later, O’Neil worked as a Royals’ scout and was a driving force behind the establishment of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine.
The Royals and Fox Sports Kansas City have partnered with the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat program since 2007 to honor a member of the community “who embodies (O’Neil’s) vibrant spirit.”