Owners approve Sherman's bid to buy Royals

November 21st, 2019

As expected, Kansas City businessman John Sherman was approved by fellow MLB owners to be the next owner of the Kansas City Royals on Thursday at the annual Owners Meetings in Arlington.

David Glass purchased the team in 2000 for $96 million. Sherman reportedly purchased the team for close to $1 billion, according to several sources.

Sherman’s interest in ownership was first reported several months ago. He has been a minority interest holder in the Indians as well and will have to relinquish those holdings.

“Compared to most ownership transfer situations, John has a unique advantage,” MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said at the meetings. “He had a three-year indoctrination with the Indians. The Indians are regarded to be a very well-run and obviously a very competitive on-the-field organization. I think the opportunity to function inside a quality Major League organization gives John a unique opportunity to take over in Kansas City and not miss a step and continue the historic success that franchise has had.

“Secondly, John has been a uniter in terms of bringing people together. When you look at his group in Kansas City, it is a really impressive Kansas City-based group. That really bodes wells for Kansas City.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention there was a very moving moment during the Major League meeting with the clubs thanking David Glass for the amazing service he has done for the industry over the last 25 years, for his stewardship of the Kansas City franchise.”

Expected to address the media early next week in Kansas City, Sherman added, “I would like to thank my partner in Cleveland in Paul Dolan. He has been a great partner in the four seasons over there, and I look forward to being his partner for years to come in Major League Baseball.

“I would echo what the Commissioner has said. David Glass has done a lot for Kansas City, not only being the owner for the last 20 years, but really helping [original Royals owner] Ewing Kauffman navigate that transition back in the '90s, which was really important to Kansas City.

“I am deeply appreciative of the Commissioner’s Office and my fellow owners for their confidence and trust in the vote today. It’s a responsibility that I will take very seriously.”

Glass has talked repeatedly about how difficult it was to sell the Royals.

“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,” Glass said toward the end of the season. “In John Sherman, we have found everything we were looking for in taking ownership of this franchise.”

Glass was the hand-picked successor to run the Royals after Kauffman died in 1993. Glass oversaw Kauffman’s succession plan, which mandated that the proceeds from a sale of the club went directly to charity. Glass, after an unsuccessful attempt to find other suitable owners, purchased the team.

After 20 years of ownership and a 2015 World Series title, Glass now hands the team to Sherman, a former Royals season-ticket holder who will keep the team thriving in Kansas City.

Sherman, 64, has been a huge fan of the Royals for decades.

In 2017, Sherman told the Kansas City Business Journal that he had planned a vacation in Europe during the Royals-Giants World Series in 2014, but that he kept getting up in the middle of the night to watch the games.

Finally, Sherman’s wife, Marny, told him to go home early. He flew from Paris to Kansas City to catch Games 6 and 7 at Kauffman Stadium.

“John has made a huge impact in our business community and is so passionate about baseball that he purchased an ownership stake in the Cleveland Indians three years ago to begin his relationship with this great game,” Glass said. “We are truly blessed to have someone of John’s stature and business acumen available to us from the metropolitan area to take the reins of this organization going forward.”

Sherman’s management style has been described as “not hands-off,” but also not an “overbearing hands-on.”

Sherman launched two successful gas-and-energy-based companies in Inergy and LPG Services Group, the latter of which merged with Dynegy. Inergy also merged with Crestwood Holdings, and Sherman still serves on that board of directors. He eventually sold off controlling interest of his companies.

“I am enormously grateful to David and the Glass family for this extraordinary opportunity,” Sherman said in a statement in September, “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 honor 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 has in the past chaired the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Truman Library Institute. He is also a trustee of the Kauffman Foundation and the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

In 2014, Sherman was inducted into the inaugural class of the University of Missouri's Bloch School of Business Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame with a group that included Kauffman and Lamar Hunt, the late founder of the American Football League (AFL) and former owner of the Kansas City Chiefs.