Flashback Friday: Gonna be Royals (1986)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | December 13, 2013 6:46 AM ET

Twenty-one seasons of partnership between the Appleton Foxes and Chicago White Sox ended after the 1986 season. The Foxes had to do something they hadn't done in a long time.   They had to look for a new parent club.

It did not take long.

Gary Shriver has the story in the September 4, 1986 edition of The Post-Crescent.

Foxes sign with Kansas City team

The Appleton Foxes have reached an agreement with the defending world champion Kansas City Royals on a player development contract for the next two seasons.

"We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Royals' organization," A. Gerard Patterson, president of the Foxes, said. "The Royals are a first-class operation. If we would have had a choice early on, we would have pegged the Royals. We didn't have that early choice, but we still ended up with the team we wanted," he said.

The agreement was reached in a telephone conversation between officials of the Appleton club and John Boles, Kansas City director of player development, at 11:25 p.m. Sunday.

"There was nothing even approaching finalization until then," said Milt Drier, vice president of the Foxes.

The agreement successfully ends a one-year search by the Foxes to replace the Chicago White Sox. The Chicago organization ended a 21-year working arrangement with the Foxes at the conclusion of this season.

The settlement also assures that there will be professional baseball in Appleton for the 30th consecutive season. Those years included two seasons under the Washington Senators, not the Minnesota Twins, in the old Three I League and six seasons as a farm club of the Baltimore Orioles in the Three I and Midwest Leagues.

"The determining factor was the people of Appleton," said Boles, who managed the Foxes to a league championship in 1983. "I managed for five years in the minors, and I thoroughly enjoyed my year here. The people up here are special. Everyone else I've talked to who has managed in Appleton, such as Adrian Garrett (Foxes' manager in 1982) and Sal Rende (manager in both 1984 and 85) say the same thing. The Foxes are run by baseball people, people who know the game. And there's not a lot of those left anymore. That allows both sides to have an appreciation of what the other needs.

"Appleton has a great facility to play in, housing for the players, and I like the league. But the real selling point was the people," Boles said.

Both Patterson and Boles said the two-year deal was what they wanted.

"The only thing I wanted to negotiate for from the beginning of our search was a two-year agreement," Boles added. "A one-year arrangement puts pressure on both parties to perform right away. We hope to be in Appleton a long time."

The addition of Appleton brings the number of Class A teams in the Royals' farm system to four. The Royals already have teams in Fort Myers, Fla., in the Florida State League; in Eugene, Ore., in the short-season Northwest League, and Sarasota, Fla., in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.

In addition, the Royals were involved in a cooperative situation with the Montreal Expos this season, each team sending players to Burlington of the Midwest League. The Expos are expected to take over the Burlington franchise in 1987.

Past Flashbacks:

Second Half Preview (1966)

How the Foxes Got Their Name (1958)

McKeon named Foxes Manager (1958)

Down to the Wire (1969)

First Half Playoff Game (1969)

Foxes win the Pennant (1969)

Rattlers v. Mariners HR Derby (1996)

Young Alex Rodriguez (1994)

It's Not You, It's Us (1965)

Hello, Chicago (1965)

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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