One of the best franchises in Major League Baseball. The Kansas City Royals have had a bit of a rich tradition in terms of winning as well as producing some great players. Here is a list of the top 10 players in 50 seasons of Kansas City baseball.
10. Hal McRae
He played with the Royals from 1973-1987. During those 14 seasons in Royal blue, Mcrae hit .293 with 169 home runs and had 1,012 runs batted. He was part of the World Series championship team in 1985 that defeated the cross state rival St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. He was a three-time All-Star and hit over .300 six times during those 14 seasons with the Royals. He was also named Royals manager in 1991 where in four seasons, at the helm, he compiled a 286-277.
9. Mike Sweeney
The former catcher/first baseman spent 13 seasons with KC hitting .299 with 197 homers and had 837 RBIs. He was the Royals captain from 2003-2007 and was the last player to wear the “C” on his jersey. His best season was in 2002 were he batted .340, the second-highest batting average in the American League and was the second-highest in club history. Sweeney retired in 2011 and was named to the Royals’ Hall of Fame on August 15, 2015. Currently, he works in the Royals front office as a special assistant to general manager Dayton Moore.
8. Paul Splittorff
Splittorff spent 15 years with the Royals. During his time in KC, he posted a 166-143 record with a 3.81 ERA and 1,057 strikeouts. In 1973, he posted his best season going 20-11 with a 3.98 ERA, had 110 strikeouts, 12 complete games, and two shutouts. During that same season, he pitched the very first game at then named Royals Stadium. Splittorff was inducted into the Royals’ Hall of Fame in 1987.
7. Amos Otis
Otis competed with the Royals from 1970-1983 and during his time with Kansas City he hit .280 with 193 homers and had 992 RBIs. He was a five-time All-Star and he became the first player since 1927 to steal five bases in one game. He even led the American League in stolen bases with 52. Otis also scored the final run at the old Kansas City Municipal Stadium in the fifth inning on October 4 1972.
6. Jeff Montgomery
Montgomery spent 12 years in Kansas City compiling 304 saves, 720 strikeouts, and had an ERA of 3.57. He was a three-time All-Star with the Royals. He won the Rolaids Man Award winner in 1993 where he set a career-high in saves with 45 and strikeouts with 63 while posting an impressive 2.27 ERA. In 2003, Montgomery was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. He currently serves as an analyst on the Royals’ Live pregame show on Fox Sports Kansas City.
5. Willie Wilson
Wilson was selected in the first round of 1974 by KC. During his 15 seasons, he hit .289 with 40 home runs, 509 RBIs, and stole 612 bases. Wilson was a two-time All-Star with the Royals in 1982 and 1983 and was part of the 1985 pennant-winning team. Wilson was known for his defense as he was Gold Glove winner in 1980, playing center field. He had a good year in 1982 as he was the batting champion. He led the AL in steals in 1979 and was a two-time Silver Slugger. Wilson was elected to the Royals’ Hall of Fame in 2000. He currently runs the Willie Wilson Baseball Foundation in Missouri.
4. Dan Quisenberry
He played with the Royals from 1979-1988. During Quisenberry’s time in KC, he was a three-time All-Star and was a five-time AL Rolaids Relief Man Award Winner. Quisenberry was part of the 1985 World Series Championship team and was the winning pitcher in the controversial Game 6. In his 10 years with the Royals, he recorded 238 saves, 321 strikeouts, and had an ERA of 3.25. When he retired in 1990, he had 244 career saves, which was the sixth highest total in MLB history.
3. Frank White
One of the longest tenured Royals was White as he played 18 years with the Royals. During his time in Royal blue, he posted a career .255 batting average, with 160 home runs and 886 RBIs. He was a five-time All-Star of the Royals to the 1985 championship team. White was the 1980 AL MVP of the championship. He was great with the glove, winning the AL Gold Glove eight times. White was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and had his number 20 retired by Kansas City in 1995. He also is a member of the Royals’ Hall of Fame.
2. Bret Saberhagen
Drafted out of high school by the Royals in 19th round of the 1982 draft. He made his professional debut on April 4, 1983. During his rookie season, he compiled a 10-11 record with a 3.48 ERA. During the World Series run in 1985, he would go 20-6 with 2.87 ERA with 158 strikeouts and 10 complete games. Not only did Saberhagen help the Royals win the World Series and winning the World Series MVP. He took home the AL CY Young at only 21 years of age. In 1991, He recorded the last, to date, Royals no-hitter when he no against the Chicago White Sox at Royals Stadium. He retired from baseball in 2001 and in 2005 was inducted into the Royals’ Hall of Fame. He was a three-time All-Star and won the CY Young twice as a member of the Royals. During that 1989 season, he went 23-6 with a 2.16 ERA, 193 Strikeouts, 12 complete games, and four shutouts.
1. George Brett
Hands down the most recognizable Royal of All-Time. Brett spent 21 years with the Royals. He collected 3,154 hits, 317 home runs, and drove in 1,596 while posting a career batting average of .305. His best season came in 1980 where he hit .390 with 24 home runs and 118 RBIs, going on to win the AL MVP. He was a 13-time All-Star and a key part to the 1985 World Series championship team. He was a three-time batting champion, three-time silver slugger, and a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1999. He was voted one of the 50 greatest players of all-time and has his jersey (number 5) retired by the Royals. He currently is the vice-president of baseball operations for the Royals, a role he has held since 2013.
The Royals have had many great players come through the system in 50 years in Kansas City. Looking to the next 50 years of Royals baseball, they have some great players that should be remembered including current Royals Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, and Alex Gordon.