Once stranded young fans who are now men, ‘Kansas City 8’ thank Amos Otis for help during ‘Plaza Flood’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been 40-years since the historic "Plaza Flood" where two-dozen victims lost their lives. The Royals game that night was canceled, and a star of the past found himself at a hotel near the stadium.

Four decades ago, Royals fans chanted "A-O" for outfield favorite Amos Otis. However, eight young men prefer to call him "hero." It was September 12th, 1977 and those boys huddled for safety in the lobby of the Holiday Inn near Truman Sports Complex while flood waters rose outside.

Those boys, who are now grown men, say the hotel wouldn't rent them a room because they were too young. They say Otis took them to his home for safety, fed them dinner and called their parents to let them know the kids were safe.

On Tuesday, 40 years to the day, the kids reunited with their hero at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum to say thank you for the rescue.

"I just did what I thought any other father would do. I saw a bunch of kids sitting outside the Holiday Inn. They wouldn't let them in," Otis recalled.

The boys were star-struck -- Otis was a baseball superstar of that era.

"I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, he talks!' I knew he did, but he's talking to us and he's feeding us," Johnny Strickland said.

Count Missouri State Representative Richard Brown as one of the kids Otis helped. The former school teacher presented Otis with a resolution -- formally thanking him.

"I always remembered the words of Amos Otis. What if that was my kid? That's something I always thought about with those children who were in my care every day," Brown said.

"I didn't think it was a big deal. Listening to these guys tonight, and hearing from you guys, it really was a big deal, and I'm glad to do it," Otis said.

Otis refers to these grown men as the "Kansas City Eight." One of them commented that they had no idea that night would have such a lasting effect on their lives.