ST. LOUIS – Missouri’s two largest metros, St. Louis and Kansas City, reunite in a professional sports playoff setting for the first time since 1985.
St. Louis CITY SC begins a three-game playoff series with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
For St. Louis, it’s not only a highly anticipated playoff run in its inaugural MLS season, but also another chapter in a rich history between STL and Kansas City sports.
Heading into the game, these are other intriguing sports connections from the titans of western and eastern Missouri athletics:
Since the late 1990s, Major League Baseball has provided a yearly installment of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals through Interleague Play. The Cardinals have largely dominated the regular-season series record of 78-53, good for a .595 winning percentage.
Kansas City, however, does have bragging rights with the 1985 World Series title, even if it came on the heels of a controversial call from umpire Don Denkinger. The Royals prevailed to win a seven-game series over the Cardinals. St. Louis leads in total World Series titles, 11-2, but Kansas City won the only head-to-head one with the Missouri counterpart and the more recent championship among the two franchises in 2015.
According to Baseball Reference, 104 baseball players (mostly retired) have spent time between the Cardinals and Royals during their MLB days. The most talented players to play for both teams include Carlos Beltran, Dan Quisenberry, Darryl Porter and Jeff Suppan.
Chiefs vs. St. Louis NFL teams
St. Louis has been home to four NFL franchises dating back nearly a whole century, including two squads in the Super Bowl era. Kansas City has been home to the Chiefs since 1963, its only NFL franchise.
In nearly six decades, the Chiefs have played several matches against NFL teams when they were based in St. Louis, but have since relocated: Those being the present-day Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams.
The Chiefs, head-to-head against both the Cardinals and Rams when they called St. Louis home, dominated their in-state competition. Kansas City only lost one of 11 head-to-head matchups between the two squads during their St. Louis days with a perfect 6-0 record against the Rams during their Gateway City run.
Kansas City was once home to an NHL expansion team known as the Scouts for a brief run between 1974 and 1976. After various developments, their history is now carried through the New Jersey Devils. The then-called Kansas City Scouts and the long-standing St. Louis Blues built two seasons of history between each other, with the Blues winning eight of ten decisions and also earning two draws.
Although Kansas City doesn’t have an NHL team, it seems the region overall carries some respect for the Blues. According to Google Analytics, the Kansas City metro had the best search volume for the “St. Louis Blues” among those in the Top 100 in size over the past year outside of St. Louis and the 11th most among all US metros, with many Missouri counterparts in close proximity.
Every once in awhile, during the Chiefs offseason or in between games, you might see their stars, like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, make a surprising appearance at Blues games. The Blues usually try to schedule one preseason contest per year in the Kansas City metro as well.
One common ground through various STL-KC sports rivalries is Mizzou sports. The University of Missouri – Columbia is nearly halfway between both cities, and many of their sports programs look to St. Louis and Kansas City for their top talents.
This year’s Mizzou football team, enjoying a 7-1 record and No. 14 rank in the AP polls, rosters dozens of players between both of its state’s biggest regions. There are 22 players from the St. Louis metro on this year’s team, highlighted by Luther Burden III, as opposed to 12 from Kansas City. Mizzou has two active quarterbacks in the NFL level, one from the St. Louis metro in Blaine Gabbert, another from the Kansas City metro in Drew Lock.
The Mizzou Basketball team, which also has high hopes in Year two under Dennis Gates, has been a hotbed for St. Louis-area talent in the past, though currently rosters more players from the Kansas City area.
Perhaps the unlikeliest of “sports” connections, but St. Louis and Kansas City are both enjoyed for their culinary scenes and compete for national honors through their barbecue. One popular study dubbing the best barbecue in the nation gave St. Louis top honors last year, but rewarded Kansas City with the top distinction this year.
Kansas City and St. Louis cooks participate in many high-profile BBQ events, including the American Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City, the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational in Tennessee.
As for CITY vs. Sporting KC
St. Louis CITY SC won the regular season series, two games to one, over Sporting Kansas City, though the home team won all three games. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues with at least one home game on tap for each, and possibly two for CITY through early-November.
On other minor detail of note, this isn’t quite an all-Missouri series with Sporting KC being based just across state lines in Kansas City, Kansas. The two squads do share links to Interstate 70, however, just like the Cardinals and Royals.
The series schedule currently consists of the following:
- Match 1: Sunday, Oct. 29 (CITYPARK – St. Louis) – 9 p.m.
- Match 2: Sunday, Nov. 5 (Children’s Mercy Park – Kansas City) – 4 p.m.
- Match 3: (If necessary) Saturday, Nov. 11 (CITYPARK – St. Louis) – 6 p.m.
Fans can watch the first match on FS1 or Apple TV, while the radio broadcast is available on 98.1 FM>