Local Sports

Bob Davis Steps Down as Royals Broadcaster

Former Royals Broadcaster Bob DavisBob Davis, one of the most recognizable voices in the Kansas City area, is retiring from his role as a Royals broadcaster after 16 seasons.


Davis, 68, said he will continue his duties as the voice of the Kansas Jayhawks the rest of this season – his 29th – and beyond.

“I just felt I needed to spend more time at home,” Davis told FOXSportsKansasCity.com. “I’ve had a good run with the Royals but as you can imagine, doing both the Jayhawks and the Royals doesn’t allow you much of an off-season.”

Davis said he will have more time now to spend caring for his wife, Linda, who has been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for some time.  Davis' wife grew up in Russell.

The Royals will rotate Ryan Lefebvre, Steve Stewart and Steve Physioc to pair with Hall of Fame announcer Denny Matthews this summer, though Matthews’ schedule has been pared back in recent years.

Davis’ radio role also was scaled back to about 60 games last season after the Royals hired Rex Hudler and Physioc to primarily do TV broadcasts, and after Lefebvre’s duties were switched to a combination of radio and TV broadcasts.

“I think they have enough guys to get by,” Davis said.

"For me, personally, it was such a great thrill to work with Bob, being a fellow KU guy," Royals vice president of communications and broadcasting Mike Swanson said. "But also, Bob was such a professional and so loyal, and those are qualities you don't always find.

"I really admired the energy and enthusiasm he brought to each game, and that says a lot considering the trying times the Royals have gone through."

Davis joined the Royals’ broadcasting team when he was paired with the late Paul Splittorff in the Royals’ television booth in 1997. The duo remained intact for 11 years.

Splittorff, a Royals Hall of Famer, died in 2011 of cancer.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of Splitt,” Davis said. “He was such a dear friend and such a wonderful person.

“Even now, I often steal lines from Splitt – he had so many. He really taught me a lot about not only baseball, but about basketball. He was a great basketball announcer, too. And he was so humble about it. You could never catch him talking about himself or his career.

“I’d say something like ‘Hey, Splitt, you were the winningest pitcher in Royals history. Be proud of that.’ And he’d just shrug his shoulder and say ‘Yeah, well, I was the losingest pitcher, too.’ ”

Davis, who was inducted into the Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2006, said he has no plans to retire as the voice of the Jayhawks anytime soon.

“Next year will be my 30th year doing the Jayhawks,” he said. “That has a nice ring to it.”

Davis said he still will follow the Royals intently this season, and is anxious to see how the Royals’ new additions to the starting rotation will affect the season.

“This is going to be a good season I believe,” he said.

Davis also is hoping his name will remain in the minds of the Royals – his son, Steven, is a broadcaster who has worked the games of the Royals’ Double-A affiliate in Northwest Arkansas the past five seasons. Steven also is the voice of the UMKC basketball team.

“It’d be nice if one day he could step into the Royals’ booth,” Bob said.

Prior to becoming the voice of the Kansas Jayhawks football and men's basketball teams in 1986, Davis was the play-by-play announcer for the Fort Hays State University Tigers.  He grew up in Topeka and graduated from Washburn University.

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