The Royals officially have a new owner, with John Sherman’s purchase of the club approved by fellow MLB owners today at their meeting in Arlington, Texas. Sherman agreed to purchase the club for $1 billion from David Glass earlier this summer. MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan expects Sherman to speak publicly next week.
The approval was seen merely as a formality, since Sherman was carefully hand-picked by Glass to succeed him. Sherman has been a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians since 2016, owning 30 percent of the club. Sherman will have to sell that stake in the club if he hasn’t already.
Sherman is a Kansas City native who started two energy companies, including LPG Services, which eventually merged with Dynegy, an electric company. He has been active in civic and philanthropic causes around the city, serving as a trustee for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the National World War I Museum, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Sherman has been a Royals season ticket-holder and is said to be passionate about baseball and views sports teams as a “community asset.” Associates have described his style as “thoughtful, open-minded, inclusive and simultaneously pragmatic and accepting of risk”. He has also been called a baseball nerd who has read books about baseball analytics such as Travis Sawchik’s Big Data Baseball. He could bring a more innovative approach to Kansas City. His friend Cliff Illig, owner of the MLS club Sporting Kansas City, described the difference in approaches to Sam Mellinger.
“He’s expressed some pride to me that they were trying some things differently (in Cleveland)...I wouldn’t say the Royals, out of necessity, under the Glasses have done some of that stuff. I don’t think the Glass family is wired the way I’m describing.”
Sherman has also been a big downtown booster and is reportedly “warm to the idea” of the Royals moving downtown. The Royals have a lease at the Truman Sports Complex through 2030, but will likely begin talks on either a new stadium or renovations to the current facility well before then. The idea has been pushed by outgoing City Manager Troy Schulte and a few other downtown boosters, and a few downtown sites have already been discussed.
John Sherman will be the third owner in Royals history, following team founder Ewing Kauffman, who owned the team since its inception until his death in 1993, and David Glass, who operated the club as Chairman of the Board following Kauffman’s death, and purchased the club for $96 million in 2000.
Update: The Royals have issued a statement.