07/05/2012 7:28 PM
Chris Browne with Frank White
By Ashley Dunkak
John Mayberry, Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Fred Patek, Willie Wilson and Frank White may be members of the Royals Hall of Fame, but to T-Bones general manager Chris Browne, the All-Stars are also old friends.
Though he now oversees every aspect of Kansas City’s other professional baseball team, Browne worked his way up the ladder just like everyone else. In his case, it began as a batboy and clubhouse attendant with the Royals in 1985, the year the team won the World Series.
As a kid, Browne would go from school at Rockhurst High School to Kauffman Stadium every day and stay there from about 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. or later. In his first few seasons with the Royals, Browne learned by listening, just doing his job and not making any waves. As he developed some credibility among the players, he also developed some lasting friendships in his seven years with the team.
“I grew up with George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson, Jamie Quirk, Dan Quisenberry, you name it, and I have a lot of memories from that,” Browne said. “Those guys had a lot of direction, right or wrong, in me growing up. I looked up to them, and they were big brothers and uncles, and friends, too. Here it is, we’re 30-some years later, and I’m still talking to these guys daily. It’s been neat. They’ve had an impact on my life.”
Several lessons from his time with the Royals have stuck with Browne. One of those came from the mantra of Royals Hall of Fame (class of 2012) groundskeeper George Toma, who always extolled the virtue of going above and beyond with his motto, “Do your job … and then some.” Another value Browne picked up was the way people in the organization embraced each other.
“The way those guys, George Brett in particular, treated the bat boys, or the janitor, like he was the owner of the team, it was all for one, one for all, with the mentality that you take care of those who take care of you in the clubhouse,” Browne said. “That has never left me, and I think that’s important.”
In addition to providing Browne with invaluable career experience, his time with the Royals is a significant reason why Frank White ended up with the T-Bones. After White parted ways with the Royals, he began talking about going to Arizona. Browne found it difficult to imagine Kansas City baseball – maybe forever – without the presence of someone as genuine, iconic and talented as White. Browne did not know if he could make a difference in whether White stayed or went, but he wanted to try, so he offered White a job.
“I know a lot of people who have kids, and I have young kids, so I want Frank White to stay in Kansas City and be a part of baseball forever in some capacity so fans of all ages in this area know who he is,” Browne said. “I hope someday he’s back with the Royals in some capacity. It may not ever happen, but number one, kids can still see number 20 on the field somewhere, maybe meet Frank White, like those memories that were so big to me; and number two, hopefully he can enjoy some fun out here, be tied to baseball, and then who knows what happens down the road.”
John Mayberry, Hal McRae, Amos Otis, Fred Patek, Willie Wilson and current Frank White are scheduled to appear at CommunityAmerica Ballpark on Friday, July 6, for a “Turn Back the Clock” night. The former Major League All-Stars, along with long-time Royals and All-Star trainer Mickey Cobb, will be signing autographs for a nominal fee after the game.