Schuerholz will always have connection to KC

Braves president spent 23 years with Royals' organization

Schuerholz will always have connection to KC

ATLANTA -- When Braves president John Schuerholz traveled to Kansas City last year for the World Series, he was reintroduced to some of that same excitement he had helped create more than three decades ago, when he guided the Royals from an expansion franchise to world champions.

After waiting 29 years between postseason appearances, the Royals have earned the honor to compete in the World Series for a second consecutive season. This year's Fall Classic matchup against the Mets provides Kansas City another chance to claim its first championship since 1985, when Schuerholz was the club's general manager.

Schuerholz's distinguished and celebrated career blossomed during the 23 years he spent with the Royals (1968-1990). Though he certainly enriched his legacy while leading the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and one World Series title, he still understandably shares an emotional bond with Kansas City.

"I was there the year before the Royals [played their first season]," Schuerholz said. "Having had the opportunity to spend 23 years helping to create the organization, strengthen it and win its first world championship, those are special memories for anybody in this game."

Strengthening that Kansas City bond is the fact that the Royals are enjoying this successful era under the direction of general manager Dayton Moore, who worked for Schuerholz and the Braves from 1995-2006. Though they have not worked together for nearly 10 years, the two men have maintained a high level of respect and admiration for one another.

Moore's front office is filled with former Braves employees who worked for Schuerholz. Kansas City manager Ned Yost spent more than a decade on Bobby Cox's coaching staff in Atlanta. Kris Medlen is the only former Braves player who is on Kansas City's World Series roster.

"I'm happy to see the success they are having," Schuerholz said. "It was a long struggle for the team, the organization and the community. But it looks like Royals baseball is back to where it was in the late '70s and throughout the '80s."

While Schuerholz might have more ties to the Royals, he is happy for the opportunity that has been presented to Mets manager Terry Collins, a highly-respected baseball lifer who has spent the past few months providing a lesson in perseverance.

"I have high regard for Terry Collins and the job the Mets did turning their circumstances around," Schuerholz said. "You have to be respectful and appreciative when teams do that. This is a tough slog to get yourself in position to compete and win and then sustain that success. The sustainability factor is the separator between the organizations that are reliable for their fans and their business partners.

"Kansas City has shown that now two years in a row. Their future looks bright, and they're obviously doing things the right way. It's one of the model franchises in the business right now. The Mets have turned it around, too. So you tip your cap to both of them. It should be a very exciting World Series for baseball fans all around the world."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.