After the Kansas City Royals completed their stunning sweep of the Baltimore Orioles for the American League pennant, Jackie Autry, the league’s honorary president, presented the title trophy to the Royals’ owner, David Glass.
As I watched this improbable scene, I thought of how undeserving Glass was of any kind of trophy. But then I talked with Glass on the telephone and when I hung up I had two good reasons for giving him credit for the Royals’ presence in the World Series.
If Dayton Moore is the major league executive of the year, which he should be for building the Royals into a World Series participant, Glass should be owner of the year for hiring Moore in the first place and then letting him do his job for more than eight years without telling him what to do, a temptation many owners can’t resist.
“He said it would take seven to nine years,” the 79-year-old owner said. “We stayed the course and didn’t deviate from it.”
It took the Royals 29 years to get back to the World Series – back to the post-season – and Glass was the chief reason it took so long. For the first 7 of those years, he was the Royals’ board chairman following the death of Ewing Kaufmann, the team’s founding owner, and for the last 14 years he has been the team’s owner.
Glass was suspected of manipulating the sale of the team in his favor. He got the Royals for $96 million despite an offer of $120 million from a New York lawyer, Miles Prentice, who owned minor league teams and was making offers for any major league team that was on the market. Major League Baseball was concerned that he didn’t have enough assets to sustain sizeable losses and awarded the Royals to Glass.
“After we first bought the team we didn’t have a good feel for what we should do,” Glass said in our conversation. “It’s one thing to do whatever it takes to execute a plan, but you need the plan. We didn’t have a plan until Dayton came.”
Herk Robinson, one of the nicest guys who has ever worked in a baseball front office, was the Royals’ general manager when Glass took over. When Glass bought the team in 2000, he named Allard Baird general manager but fired him in May 2006.
What to do then?
“I called the baseball lifers I knew,” Glass said, “and Dayton was the only one they mentioned.”
At the time, Moore was Atlanta’s assistant general manager, slated to succeed John Schuerholz as the Braves’ general manager. The Royals, however, plucked Moore off the g.m.-in-waiting vine first.
Under Glass, the Royals have not been big spenders. In fact, Glass was accused early on of …