Kansas City Royals sold

David Glass and his family on Friday announced the sale of the Kansas City Royals to an ownership group led by local entrepreneur John Sherman in a deal expected to be worth about $1 billion.

The Royals announced the sale just days after word began to leak that the Sherman group was closing in on an agreement. Sherman and his co-investors will become only the third owners since another local businessman, the beloved Ewing Kauffman, founded the club in 1969.

"The decision to sell the Royals was difficult for our family," said Glass, whose son Dan has served as the Royals' president. "Our goal, which I firmly believe we've achieved, was to have someone local, who truly loved the game of baseball and who would be a great steward for this franchise going forward. In John Sherman we have found everything we were looking for in taking ownership."

The 64-year-old Sherman has lived in Kansas City for more than four decades, even after he bought an interest in the Cleveland Indians. He founded, built and then sold a series of energy companies and has remained an influential local businessman, dabbling in agriculture in biosciences.

Sherman, who played quarterback at nearby Ottawa University, is also a well-respected civic leader, even though he keeps a low profile. He has given time and money to the Truman Presidential Library in nearby Independence, the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, and several local schools. He and his wife, Marny, have also worked with Teach for America and other educational organizations.

"I am enormously grateful to David and the Glass family for this extraordinary opportunity," Sherman said, "and am humbled by the chance to team up with a distinguished group of local investors to carry forward and build on this rich Kansas City Royals legacy.

"Our goal will be threefold: to compete for a championship on behalf of our fans; to honour their passion, their experience and their unwavering commitment; and to carry their hopes and dreams forward in this great Kansas City region we all love for decades to come."

Sherman will need to divest his interest in the Cleveland Indians, believed to be about 30 per cent of the franchise, and the deal is subject to the approval of Major League Baseball.

Those hurdles should be cleared before owners vote on the sale at their meeting Nov. 21.

"We're very supportive of John and his group reaching an agreement to acquire ownership of his hometown Kansas City Royals," Indians president Paul Dolan said. "His acquisition of the Royals is good for the game of baseball and I wish him nothing but the best."

Sherman was introduced by Dolan by Steve Greenberg, the son of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. His financial involvement allowed the team to push its payroll over the years, including in 2016, when the Indians acquired All-Star reliever Andrew Miller from the Yankees before the trading deadline.

The Indians proceeded to reach the World Series for the first time since 1997.

The Royals had represented the American League in the Fall Classic the previous two years, winning their second World Series title when they defeated the New York Mets in 2015. The back-to-back pennants came after a long period of dismal performances, leaving Glass with a mixed legacy in Kansas City.

On one hand, the 83-year-old Glass and his family kept the club in town following Kauffman's death in 1993. The longtime Wal-Mart executive served as caretaker of the organization until April 2000, when he purchased sole ownership of the franchise for $96 million — considered a strong bid at the time.

On the other hand, Glass was derided during the Royals' many 100-loss seasons for being unwilling to spend money on payroll, something he rectified in more recent years. Many fans also viewed him as an absentee owner whose family was more committed to northwest Arkansas than Kansas City.

"He's one of the most unique people I've ever met in my life," countered Royals manager Ned Yost. "Probably starting in 2012, my whole focus was to win a world championship for him. I didn't have any understanding or inkling what it would mean to win a championship for the city. I found that out later. But I wanted to win a championship for him."

Yost said watching Glass raise the World Series trophy in 2015 "one of the top three highlights of my baseball career, because we had accomplished it for him."

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