By Michael Bushnell
Located at 22nd and Brooklyn, Municipal Stadium was the home to many professional sports teams long before the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex was completed in 1972.
Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium opened July 3, 1923, as Muehlebach Field and was home to the Kansas City Blues and the Negro National League Kansas City Monarchs. Brewer George Muehlebach bought the Kansas City Blues of the American Association and built the facility at 22nd and Brooklyn for roughly $400,000. The single deck, 17,000 seat stadium was built on top of an old swimming hole and ash heap in one of the city’s Black neighborhoods.
The Stadium was later renamed Ruppert Stadium, after the Blues were purchased by New York Yankees owner Colonel Jacob Ruppert in the late 1930’s. It was renamed Blues Stadium in 1943 and then Municipal Stadium after the Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1954 from Philadelphia. It was during that era that the upper deck was added, increasing the seating capacity to roughly 34,000.
Municipal Stadium was also home to the Kansas City Chiefs after Dallas Texans owner Lamar Hunt bought the team and moved them to Kansas City in 1963. The name Chiefs was chosen as a nod to Kansas City Mayor H. Roe Bartle who advocated strongly for the team’s relocation to Kansas City. Bartle’s tribal name in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say was Chief Lone Bear.
On April 8, 1969 the Kansas City Royals played their first game in Municipal Stadium, beating the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in 12 innings.
On Christmas Day, 1971 the Chiefs played the longest game in NFL history, losing to the Miami Dolphins 27-24 when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian kicked a field goal with 7:20 left in the double-overtime session.The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds, an NFL record that stands to this day.
Sadly, Municipal Stadium went the way of many other vintage stadiums such as Ebbets Field, and Denver’s Mile High Stadium. It was razed in the early 1970s following the construction of the Truman Sports Complex on Blue Ridge Cutoff and I-70.
For a time, the old Municipal Stadium site was home to a community garden plot. Even that has been bulldozed and new homes now exist on the site where the Kansas City Chiefs, professional soccer franchise The Kansas City Spurs, and baseball teams that included the Blues, Monarchs, A’s and Royals once called home.
On October 4, 2019, a permanent memorial was erected at the corner of 22nd Street and Brooklyn Avenue, partially funded by the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League, paying homage to the stadium’s heritage and the teams and players that played there.