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One year after the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team became the Monarchs

The team won a championship in 2021
KC Monarchs Logo
Posted at 5:04 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 19:42:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — It’s been quite a year for the Kansas City Monarchs.

The team, which was previously named the T-Bones, switched its name to honor the famed Negro Leagues powerhouse in January 2021.

But one year later, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum president Bob Kendrick acknowledged he was hesitant when team owner Mark Brandmeyer first approached him.

"I'll be honest, initially, I was not enamored with this idea,” Kendrick confided.

He worried about entrusting the Negro Leagues’ landmark brand to someone else.

“And then I had a real epiphany,” Kendrick continued. "Because as historic and significant as this brand is, it needed relevance, too.”

That value was something team partner and CEO Mark McKee hoped to bring to the table. In return, the team would tap into a legacy with name brand recognition.

“We really wanted to reinvent the team and reinvent the experience,” McKee said.

“We had fun names like the Burnt Ends, something that's barbecue themed, and so on,” he said. “By taking on the Monarchs, it was really a bit of a civic obligation.”

The agreement is a licensing deal, according to Kendrick. It’s a business partnership where the museum gets a cut of Monarchs’ ticket, food and merchandise sales.

“We think we've just scratched the surface about what this partnership can and will be,” Kendrick said.

He said museum contributions and traffic are up.

Kendrick added that the team had a lot of pressure to live up to the Monarchs name. The team won 10 Negro League championships.

“We're very protective of that brand and they have such a legacy of winning,” he said. “If you're going to be called the Kansas City Monarchs, then you've got to win.”

Then this fall the team won an American Association of Professional Baseball title.

“You couldn’t have scripted this any better,” Kendrick added. “I have no idea what we can do for an encore.”