Thursday, March 26, 2015

All-Time Greatest Kansas City Royals

Four years ago I posted my picks for the all-time greatest players for each Major League team. With a new season upon us and my new book about the 2014 Kansas City team about to be released, I thought I would revisit my selections for the greatest Royals at each position. Players from the 1970s and 1980s still dominate, though I've now got Gordon ahead of Tartabull in the outfield. In a couple seasons, Perez could claim the catcher spot and Holland could surpass Quiz. Hosmer and Cain also have a shot at cracking this lineup, but it would be a few years down the road. As for Billy Butler, a case could be made for putting him ahead of Beltran in the bench spot. 

1B  Mike Sweeney – Five-time All-Star; drove in a bunch of runs (144 in 2000) for some bad KC teams. 
2B  Frank White – Excellent range; won eight Gold Gloves; hit a few HRs late in his career.
SS  Freddie Patek – Good glove; stole 30+ bases 8 times for KC (led league with 53 in ’77). 
3B  George Brett – One of the best 3B ever; 3,154 hits, 317 HRs, three batting titles; Gold Glove; came through in the clutch.
OF  Willie Wilson – Incredible speed; led AL in triples five times; stole over 600 bases for KC; won AL batting title in ’82.
OF  Amos Otis – A complete player; could field (three Gold Gloves), hit, and steal bases (52 in ’71).
OF  Alex Gordon – Four straight Gold Gloves and counting; career OPS of .781 (through 2014); driving force in the resurgence of KC baseball.
C  Mike Macfarlane – Decent hitting catcher with power; penchant for getting HBP boosted his OPS numbers; Porter played only four seasons in KC.
DH  Hal McRae – The first great DH; drove in more than 1,000 runs for KC; career .290 hitter.
Bench  Carlos Beltran – Power and speed; drove in 100 runs in four of his five full seasons in KC.
Pitcher  Bret Saberhagen – Two-time Cy Young Award winner; 1985 World Series MVP.
Pitcher  Dennis Leonard – Workhorse who won 20 games three times for the Royals.
Pitcher  Paul Splittorff – Holds the franchise record with 166 wins; won 15+ games four times.
Closer  Dan Quisenberry – Led the AL in saves five times; provided the missing piece KC needed to reach the World Series.