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Former Royals player weighs in on Kauffman Stadium's future

Willie Aikens discusses his memories at Kauffman Stadium
Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-02 19:29:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County residents headed to the polls on Tuesday for the general election.

The question on the ballot surrounded the stadium tax, and with that, the future of Kauffman Stadium.

Willie Aikens is a former player who has fond memories at Kauffman. He has the rings to prove it.

"We swept the Yankees in the playoffs in 1980, and we went to the World Series," Aikens said while showing off his 1980 ring.

Willie Aikens and his Royals rings

Aikens played from 1980-1983. He works in the front office now, but his mind is forever on the memories made on the field.

"I had the best years of my baseball career playing here in Kansas City," Aikens said. "But hey, this is a great ballpark here. But I understand the decision. It's been here since what, 1969? For what, 63, 64 years?"

Aikens calls Kauffman his home, and for him, it will remain home even if it's downtown.

Willie Aikens, former Royals player

"It becomes a point in time where it's time to move on," he said.

Not everyone feels the same way he does. KC Tenants rallied on the first day of no-excuse absentee voting against the tax.

They're concerned about rate increases, which could displace residents and businesses.

"I, particularly, live 344 feet, like I said, from where this Royals stadium is going to go, and I'll be forced out because of the rent hike that's already happening, and just the noise in general," said Sarah Deder, a volunteer with KC Tenants.

Aikens said he loves the Royals and wants the best for them, being able to make memories and earn rings, like his.

"It will always have a history as one of the greatest places in Kansas City, Missouri," he said.