2022 Honorees Announced for the 49th Annual Kansas City Sports Awards Presented by Populous

KANSAS CITY, MO (April 26, 2022) – The Kansas City Sports Awards Presented by Populous, the region’s longest running and preeminent sports awards program, revealed the honorees for 2022, with recipients from organizations including the Kansas City Current, Kansas City Monarchs, University of Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State Wildcats.

“Each year, I’m amazed at the amount of talent, leadership and success of our local sporting community,” says Kathy Nelson, President and CEO of the Kansas City Sports Commission and Visit KC. “Sports continue to move Kansas City forward when it comes to economic impact, opportunity and inclusion.”

The award recipients for this year encompass not only coaches, players and ownership, but also recognize the important role of sports journalists and broadcasters. Here are the 2022 honorees:

McCownGordon Construction Executives of the Year

Angie Long, Chris Long, Brittany Mahomes

Kansas City Current

Spire Community Champion

Brenda VanLengen

Emmy-Award Winning Broadcaster

Burns & McDonnell Coach of the Year

Joe Calfapietra

Kansas City Monarchs

Polsinelli Sportsmen of the Year

Men’s Basketball Team

University of Kansas Jayhawks

Children’s Mercy Sports Medicine Center Sportswoman of the Year

Ayoka Lee

Kansas State Wildcats

T-Mobile Professional Achievement Award

Vahe Gregorian

The Kansas City Star

The Kansas City Sports Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, June 9 at the Muelbach Tower of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. A reception at 5:30 p.m. precedes the dinner and awards program, which starts at 7 p.m. Tables are currently available exclusively for sponsors. More information can be found at

About The Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation
The mission of the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation is to drive Kansas City’s overall sports strategy, to enrich the quality of life, create economic impact and raise visibility for our region.  As a privately-funded nonprofit, we are entirely dependent on your support.  For the latest on Kansas City Sports Commission news, follow on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.  Also follow the Garmin Kansas City Marathon on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.


The Monarchs bring in 27-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder, Willie Abreu to the Kansas City 2022 club. Abreu, from Hialeah, Florida plays all three outfield positions and was drafted originally out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds and later by the Colorado Rockies in the 6th round in 2016 out of the University of Miami. Abreu played on the United States National 16 under and 18 under teams.

Playing 70 games for AA Hartford in the Northeast League in 2021 Abreu hit .233 with 14 doubles, 7 home runs and drove in 35 runs tossing in 5 stolen bases on the campaign.



The Kansas City Monarchs announced that right-handed pitcher Keyvius Sampson has been traded to the Lexington Legends of the Atlantic League for cash consideration and a player to be named later.

Sampson joined the team as a member of the starting rotation on July 28, 2021. Sampson was 5-1 with a 3.92 earned run average in 8 games, pitching just over 36 innings with 45 strike outs.  Sampson picked up the Monarchs win in Game 3 of the American Association Championship Series clinching win. At Legends Field Sampson tossed 5 innings, allowed only one run (unearned) with four strikeouts.


Ten-year Major-League Baseball left-handed hitting slugger Matt Adams has signed with the Kansas City Monarchs announced 2021 American Association Manager of the Year Joe Calfapietra.  “We are very excited to have Matt a part of our ball club for the 2022 season” said Calfapietra.  “His ability, experience and presence is going to be extremely valuable to our organization.  We are anxious to get started toward taking the steps to reach our 2022 goals.”

Adams who most recently played for the Colorado Rockies in 2021 was a World Series Champion with the 2019 Washington Nationals where he hit 20 home runs and drove in 56 with 14 doubles in the Championship season.  Adams was drafted by the Cardinals in the 23rd round of the 2009 MLB draft.  Known as “Big City”, Adams lives in metropolitan Saint Louis and is looking forward to the 2022 season as a Monarchs.  “I am very excited to play in Kansas City – what drew my interest in the Monarchs was that Kansas City is a great sports town close to my home with great fans and the level of baseball the Monarchs play is top level.  The history of Monarchs baseball is special.  The number of players sent to major league organizations and the Championship is very important to me.  I wanted to continue to play the game I love and show that I can still be an impactful big-league player and get back to a major league club” added Adams on the day the contract was finalized.

Adams played for the Saint Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Washington, and last season in Colorado.   In his 10-year Major League career, Adams played in 856 games, hit 118 home runs and drove in 399 runs with 624 hits.   Adams had double digit home runs in 2013 (17) 2014 (15) 2016 (16) 2017 (20) 2018 (21) 2019 (20).

The Monarchs 2022 Training Camp opens on May 5 at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas – Opening Night is Friday May 13 at 7 p.m. when KC takes on divisional rival Sioux City.

For tickets call 913.328.5618 or see


KANSAS CITY Kansas. – The Kansas City Monarchs have signed Chicago White Sox farmhand Joel Booker for the 2022 season, the team announced today.

Booker played for Charlotte (AAA) and Birmingham (AA) in 2021.  Drafted in the 22nd round of the 2016 Major League draft by the White Sox out of the University of Iowa.   Booker was released by CWS in April 3, 2022.


Kansas Baseball is proud to host the 2022 Buck O’Neil Classic on Tuesday, April 19 at Legends Field in Kansas City. The Jayhawks will take on Texas Southern at 6 p.m., in a matchup honoring O’Neil as he is set to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer posthumously. There will be a pregame press availability with Kansas Head Coach Ritch Price, Negro League Museum Community Engagement Manager Kiona Sinks and Kansas Baseball student-athlete and Kansas City native Tavian Josenberger at 4:30 p.m., on the field, in front of the Kansas dugout.

There will be a media meal provided from 4-6 p.m., in Suite 219. The press box will be available to use before and during the game. Media can pick up credentials for the game at the ticket booth in left field beginning at 4 p.m. If you already have been issued a season credential, you will not need to pick one up. Please enter through Gate B. There will be parking available in the general parking lot. There is no permit required.

Who: Kansas Head Coach Ritch Price, Kansas Second Baseman Tavian Josenberger, Negro League Museum Community Engagement Manager Kiona Sinks
What: 2022 Buck O’Neil Classic Pregame Press Conference
Where: Legends Field: 1800 Village West Pkwy, Kansas City, KS, 66111
When: April 19, 4:30 p.m.


The Kansas City Monarchs are adding local and regional standout pitcher Brock Gilliam to the 2022 roster.  In his first stint last year, in professional baseball Basehor’s own Brock Gilliam was 3-1 with a 2.49 earned run average over 12 games with the American Association Champion Kansas City Monarchs. Signed last July after completing a record setting (strikeouts in a season / all-time Ichabod strike out leader) career at Washburn (Topeka) and graduating, Gilliam pitched 21 and two thirds’ innings – had 20 strike outs and 9 walks.  His 1st professional win came the first of August versus the Chicago Dogs in a relief appearance

In the 2021 American Association playoffs, the Basehor resident, Gilliam worked one playoff game at Sioux City in the 14-2 clinching Divisional Series win.

The Monarchs open 2022 training camp on May 5, 2022 at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas.


As announced by 2021 American Association Manager of the Year, Joe Calfapietra – Matt Hall, the Lee’s Summit West and Missouri State University product will return to the rotation for the 2022 Kansas City Monarchs.   “We are very excited to have Matt back for the 2022 season” said Manager Joe Calfapietra.  “Obviously, he was a big big part of our pitching staff when we acquired him at the end of the season.  Looking forward to having him in the starting rotation to start the 2022 season.  His big-league presence went and will go a long way”  The former Detroit Tiger and Boston Red Sox was a huge late season sign by Calfapietra; Hall was 2-0 in 3 games down the stretch with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings.  Hall struck out 17 with only 1 base on balls and 5 hits.

The 28-year-old was drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball draft by Boston.  Before joining the Monarchs in 2021, Hall was 2-2 in 28 games with 5 Holds and 1 Save for AAA Worcester Red Sox.  Hall pitch for the Detroit Tigers in 2018 (5 games) and 2019 (16 games) and 4 games for the big-league Boston Red Sox in 2020.

In the 2021 American Association post-season Hall started both game ones for the Divisional Series and Championship Series.  In the Game One start Hall pitched 6 innings, allowed one run and only 6 hits while striking out 4 Explorers for the win.  In Fargo, Hall started Championship series game one, pitched 6 innings, allowed 4 earned runs, struck out 7 RedHawks and gave up 7 hits also earning the win.

Hall said “It is an honor to play for Joe and Mike – they are great people there is a really great staff behind the scenes in the support staff and front office.  I look forward to another year with the Monarchs and bringing back a Championship for Kansas City.  “I really love playing in front of my hometown fans” added Hall.

Monarchs Training Camp begins May 5 with 2022 Opening Night slated for 7 p.m. on Friday May 13.  For tickets call 913.328.5618 or hit the website at


Monarchs pick up another arm for the bullpen Sunday morning with the signing of C.J. Carter recently released by the Beloit Sky Carp.

Carter was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 2018 MLB amateur draft in the 29th round out of Troy University.  Carter pitched for four teams in 2021 including Pensacola the AA affiliate of the Marlins.  Carter was 2-2 in pitching in 18 and one third innings over 15 games.


The Kansas City Monarchs added a proven shortstop to their 2022 team with the signing of Pete Kozma.  Kozma has played in Major League Baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, and the Oakland Athletics. The St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the first round (18th pick overall) of the 2007 MLB draft out of Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

After the signing, 2021 American Association Manager of the Year Joe Calfapietra said “We are adding to an already strong clubhouse by brining in a major league player the caliber of Pete Kozma to the Monarchs.  We are very excited as an organization to have Pete with us for the 2022 season.  His experience and leadership at baseball’s highest level helps us in the clubhouse and on the field.”

Kozma was on the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals team and played with the Yankees, Rangers, Tigers and Braves and his latest team the Oakland A’s in 2021.

In 2021 Kozma spent the majority of the season at AAA Las Vegas before being called up to the big-league Oakland A’s.  He hit .244 with 24 doubles, 3 triples and 4 home runs with 40 runs batted in in 113 games as the Aviators regular shortstop.

“It’s a very easy drive up from Oklahoma” said Kozma – “I hope that a lot of friends and family can make it up on a regular basis.  It’s really cool that way.  From what I heard there is nothing but great things about the Monarchs and this ball club.  I wanted to keep on playing and joining a top-notch team makes it an easy transition – I feel right at home”