We would like to welcome you to a new series here at Royals Blue. We will continue to post segments breaking down the 300 best players to ever play for Kansas City. There will be some familiar names, some not so familiar, and probably a few surprises along the way.
These are the Top 300 Kansas City Royals Players ranked in descending order. Each player's ranking is based on the Modified Production Index Formula (MPIF). Position players and pitchers, respectively, have a formula that is used to rank their overall contribution to the Kansas City Baseball Franchise in their Royals' career. The position player and pitching formula are located HERE.
The following players, ranked from #270 to 241, have biographical and statistical information about their tenure in Kansas City.
RANK #270 – HECTOR ORTIZ (#22) – Catcher (1998-2001)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 435.68
454th Royals Player in Franchise History
Hector Ortiz signed with the Kansas City Royals as a free agent from the Chicago Cubs. He made his major league debut on September 14, 1998 against the Oakland Athletics. He only made four appearances in 1998 and played in the minor leagues until he was called up in late July of 2000 as a backup catcher, replacing Jorge Fabregas. Due to an injury to starting catcher Gregg Zaun, he was the opening day catcher for the Royals in 2001. He was the starting catcher for the Royals until Kansas City acquired Brent Mayne that season. His best game came May 19, 2001 in a 6-2 win over the Boston Red Sox when he hit 3-4 with a triple and two RBIs. Ortiz did not make the major league roster in 2002 and in late April, his contract was sold to the Texas Rangers. Ortiz hit .293 while playing for the Royals.
RANK #269 – CARL TAYLOR (#44) – Catcher (1971, 1972-1973)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 435.69
53rd Royals Player in Franchise History
Carl Taylor was traded to the Royals in 1971 by the Milwaukee Brewers for Ellie Rodriguez. In September, his contract was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates re-sold his contract back to the Royals in early 1972. He was a backup catcher who occasionally played outfield or pinch hit. He hit .236 for the Royals in 152 appearances. He never played in the major leagues again after 1973.
RANK #268 – CHRIS YOUNG (#32) – Middle Relief Pitcher (2015-2016)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 421.10
804th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran Chris Young signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2015 after being the American League Comeback-Player-of-the-Year for the Seattle Mariners. At 6’10”, he is tied with Andy Sisco as the tallest Royals player in history and tied for the second tallest-player in major league history. Due to his height, Young has a higher vantage point when throwing the ball that allows for an easier time hitting the strike zone. His fastball only averages in the mid-80s and his style induces numerous fly balls. Young attended Princeton University and was coached by former major league catcher Scott Bradley, who caught for 6’10” Randy Johnson. Young was brought in as a long-relief pitcher, but with the season-ending injury to Jason Vargas, Young was placed into the starting rotation. He quickly became the best pitcher in the Royals rotation. During May and June, Young went 6-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings pitched. He quickly became one of the starting pitchers in major league baseball. On June 16, Young pitched seven scoreless innings in Milwaukee and became the first pitcher in 43 years to post three RBIs in a game. In July, his ERA shot up and he was returned to the bullpen. He started the last two games of the regular season before going into the postseason as the Royals’ fourth starter in the four-man rotation. During the first game of the World Series, Young was brought in during the 12th inning in long relief against the New York Mets. He pitched three shutout innings, earning the win in the longest game in World Series history. Young’s efforts during the season and postseason helped the Royals clinch their second-ever World Series Title in Franchise history. He ended the season 11-6 with a 3.06 ERA. Chris Young is still pitching with the Royals today.
RANK #267 – JERRY MAY (#12) – Catcher (1971-1973)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 437.53
55th Royals Player in Franchise History
Jerry May was traded to the Kansas City Royals, along with Freddie Patek and Bruce Dal Canton, from the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Bob Johnson, shortstop Jackie Hernandez and catcher Jim Campanis. May split time with Ed Kirkpatrick behind the plate. He hit .252 in 71 games played in his first season with the Royals. His best game came April 24, 1971 in a 6-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians when he went 2-4 with a double and three RBIs. In 1972, he became the backup catcher to Ed Kirkpatrick, but his batting average dropped to .190. During both seasons, May battled injuries throughout the season. In 1973, after having a very bad start to the season, his contract was sold to the New York Yankees. He hit a career .223 and caught 576 2/3 innings with the Kansas City Royals.
RANK #266 – PHIL HIATT (#25) – Utility Player (1993-1995)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 444.68
345th Royals Player in Franchise History
Phil Hiatt was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1990 and made his major league debut on April 7, 1993. He primarily played third base in his first season, splitting time with Gary Gaetti. He played 558 1/3 innings at third base, but only hit .218 for the season. The best game of his Royals career came on June 9, 1993 when he went 3-5 with a double, home run and five RBIs. Unfortunately, he did not get called up in 1994 and spent most of his time at AA Memphis. He was able to return to the Royals in 1995 as a utility outfielder, but only hit .204 with limited playing time. He was ultimately traded to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Juan Samuel.
RANK #265 – STEVE BRAUN (#3) – Left Field (1978-1980)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 445.38
128th Royals Player in Franchise History
Steve Braun was traded to the Kansas City Royals from the Seattle Mariners for Jim Colborn on June 1, 1978. He began by playing various positions such as left field, third base and pinch hitter. Braun hit .263 in 1978 and also made two appearances in the 1978 ALCS against the New York Yankees. Due to some injuries, Braun only appeared in 58 games in 1979, batting .267. Braun was released in early June of 1980 by the Royals and was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit a career .246 for the Kansas City Royals.
RANK #264 – MIKE JONES (#17) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1980-1985)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 446.83
157th Royals Player in Franchise History
Mike Jones played his entire major league career with the Kansas City Royals. He was a first round draft pick in 1977. Jones had brief stints with the Royals in 1980 and 1981. When the Royals made the divisional series of 1981, Jones was awarded the start in Game 2 against the Oakland Athletics. He pitched eight innings in a tough 2-1 loss. In December of 1981, Jones suffered a broken neck in a car accident. He would not pitch again in the major leagues until June of 1984. During the 1985 season, Jones was primarily a middle relief pitcher, appearing in 33 games with a 3-3 record. Jones ended his major league career with the Royals in 1985 with an 11-10 record in 71 appearances, pitching 225 1/3 innings.
RANK #263 – CESAR GERONIMO (#23) – Utility Outfield (1981-1983)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 448.83
159th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran Cesar Geronimo was signed as a free agent in 1981 after playing for the Cincinnati Reds. In his first season, he primarily played right field as a backup outfielder, batting .246. He made a brief appearance as a pinch runner for Willie Aikens in Game 2 of the 1981 Division Series against the Oakland Athletics. He would have the same role as backup outfielder in the 1982 season, however by 1983, his offensive production fell dramatically and he was released at the end of the season, ending his major league career. He finished his Royals career with a .244 batting average in 324 at bats.
RANK #262 – MENDY LOPEZ (#32) – Shortstop (1998-1999, 2003-2004)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 452.81
441st Royals Player in Franchise History
Mendy Lopez was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 1992. He made his major league debut on June 3, 1998. Lopez primarily played shortstop in his first season with the Royals after the demotion of Felix Martinez. However, in 1999, the Royals acquired Rey Sanchez at shortstop and Lopez spent much of his season at AAA Omaha. He was released by the Royals at the end of the season and was picked up by the Florida Marlins. After short stints with Florida, Houston and Pittsburgh, he re-signed with the Royals as a utility infielder in 2003. His best game came on September 27, 2003 when, replacing Angel Berroa at shortstop, he went 2-2 with a homerun and two RBIs. On May 21, 2003, Lopez stole home plate against the Oakland Athletics. Lopez ended his major league career in 2004 when the Royals sold his contract to Samsung Lions in the Korean League. He played a total of 562 2/3 innings at shortstop while in Kansas City.
RANK #261 – MIKE WOOD (#46) – Middle Relief Pitcher (2004-2006)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 454.17
585th Royals Player in Franchise History
In June of 2004, Mike Wood arrived in Kansas City through a complex three-team deal. Mike Wood was sent to the Kansas City Royals, along with Mark Teahen, from the Oakland Athletics. Kansas City sent Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros, Houston sent Octavio Dotel to Oakland, and Houston sent John Buck to Kansas City with cash. Wood was instantly inserted into the starting rotation and started 17 games for the Royals in 2004. Unfortunately, he only went 3-8 with a 5.94 ERA. In 2005, Wood was moved to the bullpen in long relief and improved his ERA to 4.03 before given a second opportunity as a starter late in the season due to an injury to starter Brian Anderson. In his final season with the Royals, Wood split time in the bullpen and in a starting roll. Wood was released at the end of the 2006 season and picked up off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Wood had a career 5.28 ERA with the Royals and a record of 11-19 in 279 2/3 innings pitcher.
RANK #260 – STORM DAVIS (#43) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1990-1991)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 454.90
282nd Royals Player in Franchise History
Gerald Earl “Storm” Davis signed as a free agent by the Kansas City Royals in 1989 after playing with the Oakland Athletics. He signed a $6 million three-year contract with the Royals. Many have said the contract was one of the worst blunders in major league history. Davis became part of the starting rotation in 1990, starting in 20 games with a 7-10 record. In 1991, he was changed to a middle relief role, making 51 appearances but only a 3-9 record. He was traded at the end of the 1991 season to the Baltimore Orioles for catcher Bob Melvin. He finished his short and expensive career with the Royals with a 10-19 record, a 4.85 ERA, and 226 1/3 innings pitched in 72 appearances.
RANK #259 – AMBIORIX BURGOS (#50) – Closing Pitcher (2005-2006)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 459.56
604th Royals Player in Franchise History
Ambiorix Burgos was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2000. He made his major league debut on April 23, 2005. He pitched in 63 1/3 innings in 59 appearances and had the fastest average pitch in baseball at 96.5 mph. Despite only pitching in relief, Burgos was tenth in the league in wild pitches. In 2006, Burgos was made the team’s closer and led the team with 18 saves, but blew 12 save opportunities. He was replaced by Joe Nelson by the end of the season. After the season, Burgos was traded to the New York Mets for starting pitcher Brian Bannister. He ended his career with a 4.81 ERA in 127 appearances for the Royals.
RANK #258 – JERRY ADAIR (#14) – Second Base (1969-1970)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 460.01
1st Royals Player in Franchise History (along with Wally Bunker, Joe Foy, Chuck Harrison, Jackie Hernandez, Ed Kirkpatrick, Bob Oliver, Lou Piniella, and Ellie Rodriguez)
Adair was selected from the Boston Red Sox in the 1968 Expansion Draft. He became the first second baseman in Royals history in the 1969 opening day game against the Minnesota Twins. Adair became the primary second-baseman for the Royals in their inaugural year. Adair hit .244 in his Royals career with five home runs and 49 RBIs. He ranked second in the American League in fielding percentage as a second baseman. On April 21, 1969, Adair hit the first-ever inside-the-park home run in Royals history off of pitcher Marty Pattin of the Seattle Pilots. His best game came on September 26, 1969 when he went 3-4 with a double, home run and three RBIs against the Chicago White Sox. Adair finished his major league career with the Kansas City Royals when he was abruptly released in 1970. He would go on to play in Japan for a short time.
RANK #257 – LUIS MENDOZA (#39) – Starting Pitcher (2010-2013)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 460.27
707th Royals Player in Franchise History
The Kansas City Royals purchased the contract of Luis Mendoza from the Texas Rangers in 2010. Mendoza made only six appearances between 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Mendoza became part of the Kansas City starting rotation, starting 25 games in 30 appearances. He had a 8-10 record with a 4.23 ERA. In the 2013 season, his performance began to go down as his ERA rose to 5.36. He was removed from the starting rotation in early July and used primarily in long relief from the bullpen. Mendoza was released after the season and signed to play in Japan. Mendoza pitched 278 2/3 innings while in Kansas City.
RANK #256 – BILL BUCKNER (#14) – Designated Hitter (1988-1989)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 461.23
257th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran outfielder Bill Buckner signed with the Royals in May of 1988 after being released by the California Angels. Buckner was a former all-star and National League Batting Title winner with the Chicago Cubs. Buckner was also was known as the Boston Red Sox player that let a ground ball go through his legs in the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to force a seventh game and win the World Series. Buckner primarily split time as a designated hitter along with George Brett and Pat Tabler. He played several games at first base as well as a pinch hitter. Buckner hit .256 with only three home runs and 34 RBIs on the season. His best game with the Royals was on May 19, 1988 in a 14-1 win over the Minnesota Twins where he hit two solo home runs and went 3-4 batting. Buckner’s numbers dramatically dropped in 1989 and he only appeared in 79 games, most of which was as a pinch hitter. Buckner was released after the season and he was re-signed by the Boston Red Sox. Buckner hit .239 for the Kansas City Royals in 168 appearances.
RANK #255 – BEN ZOBRIST (#18) – Utility Player (2015)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 469.48
813th Royals Player in Franchise History
In late July of 2015, just before the trade deadline, the Kansas City Royals traded Aaron Brooks and a minor league player to the Oakland Athletics for Ben Zobrist. Despite having one of the best fielding percentages in major league history at second base, Zobrist was brought to Kansas City to replace the injured Alex Gordon in left field. Zobrist has been called the “Super Utility Player” because of his extreme versatility. He could play every position with ease. He has even been known to pitch. In only his third game with Kansas City, Zobrist became the sixth player in franchise history to hit two home runs in a game from both sides of the plate against the Toronto Blue Jays. While with the Royals, Zobrist played five positions. However, when Gordon returned to the team, second baseman Omar Infante had a season-ending injury. Zobrist was placed as second base. He hit .284 in Kansas City with 29 walks to 30 strikeouts. He hit seven home runs in his short tenure with Kansas City. When the Royals made the postseason, Zobrist was named the starting second baseman for Kansas City. He went on a tear, hitting .303 with two home runs, making spectacular catches in the infield, and tying a major league record with eight doubles in the postseason. There was some concern that he would leave the team during the series because his wife was due with their third child. However, to the delight of many fans, his wife told the media that she wanted him to keep playing even if she went into labor. Thankfully, the birth happened after the World Series. Zobrist became a major key to the Royals winning the World Series in 2015. At the end of the season, he declared himself a free agent and is currently playing with the Chicago Cubs.
RANK #254 – DANE IORG (#9) – Utility Player (1984-1985)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 471.84
209th Royals Player in Franchise History
Dane Iorg’s contract with the St. Louis Cardinal’s was sold to the Kansas City Royals in May of 1984. Iorg became a utility player for the Royals by playing first base, outfield and designated hitter. Iorg made 15 appearances in 1984 as a pinch hitter in 78 games played. Iorg hit .255 with five home runs and 30 RBIs in his first season. In 1985, Iorg made 30 appearances as a pinch hitter out of 64 games played in the regular season. He occasionally played outfield positions during the season. Iorg made appearances in both the 1984 and 1985 ALCS. His most memorable game came during Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and down by one run, Iorg hit a bloop single to right field which scored Onix Concepcion and Jim Sundberg to win the game and force a Game 7 of the World Series. Dane Iorg became a hero in Kansas City in 1985. He was granted free agency after the World Series and he signed with the San Diego Padres. Iorg hit .244 in his Royals career.
RANK #253 – KURT BEVACQUA (#2) – Third Base (1973, 1974)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 471.90
74th Royals Player in Franchise History
Kurt Bevacqua was traded to Kansas City by the Cleveland Indians in 1972 for Mike Hedlund. In 1973, he played in 99 games with the Royals, backing up Paul Schaal at third base. He hit a career-high 40 RBIs in his first season with the Royals. On July 9, 1973, Bevacqua hit a grand slam against the Milwaukee Brewers. At the end of the season, Bevacqua was traded to the Pittsburgh. After a half-season in Pittsburgh, he was traded back to the Royals in July of 1974. He had limited playing time in his second stint with the Royals and only hit .211 in 39 games. His contract was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975. Bevacqua hit .246 with 43 RBIs while with the Royals.
RANK #252 – RON MAHAY (#32) – Middle Relief Pitcher (2008-2009)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 473.81
670th Royals Player in Franchise History
Ron Mahay signed as a free agent in 2007 after playing for the Texas Rangers. He was a major part of the bullpen, pitching in 57 relief appearances with an ERA of 3.48. As a setup pitcher in 2008 for Joakim Soria, Mahay had 20 holds in his first season with the Royals, striking out 49. His productivity diminished in 2009 when his ERA shot up to 4.79 with only three holds. He was released by the Royals in late August and picked up by the Minnesota Twins. Mahay had a career 3.99 ERA with the Royals in 98 relief appearances.
RANK #251 – ALEX RIOS (#15) – Right Field (2015)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 477.55
799th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran outfielder and former all-star Alex Rios was signed as a free agent in 2015 after playing for the Texas Rangers. Rios was brought to Kansas City to fill the vacancy left after the release of Nori Aoki in right field. It was hoped that Rios would bring more power to the anemic Royals offense of 2014. On Opening Day, Rios did not disappoint when he hit a homerun to help the Royals win 10-1. He was hitting .321 for the Royals until a pitch broke his hand on April 13 and he was forced on the disabled list for the rest of April and all of May. When he returned to the lineup, he went into a major slump, only hitting .181 during the month of June. He bounced back, hitting .274 with three home runs after July 1. He lacked the fielding prowess of backup outfielder Paulo Orlando and would periodically leave the game in the seventh inning for the defensive replacement. Rios was selected to be the Royals’ starting right fielder during the 2015 playoffs. His 1,691 career games without playing in the playoffs was the longest of any player in the major leagues at the time. He hit .333 with one home runs and five RBIs during the playoffs to help the Royals to their second-ever World Series. At the end of the season, Rios became a free agent. Rios hit .255 for the Royals.
RANK #250 – NELSON BRILES (#19) – Starting Pitcher (1974-1975)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 479.84
93rd Royals Player in Franchise History
In 1973, Nelson Briles was traded, along with Fernando Gonzalez, to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Ed Kirkpatrick, Kurt Bevacqua and a minor league player. Briles studied drama in college, sang and was a comedian. Just after arriving in Kansas City, Briles released a song on Capitol Records titled, “Hey Hank,” asking Hank Aaron not to hit home run #715 off of him. Two games into the 1974 season, Briles was on the disabled list for a strained knee. After returning, he strained it again and was required to have surgery on it after the season. The 1975 season did not fare much better for Briles as he was placed on the disabled list several times. After the 1975 season, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Dave Nelson. He finished his Royals career with a 4.14 ERA, 114 strikeout in 42 appearances. His record with the Royals was 11-13 in 215 innings pitched.
RANK #249 – JERRY DON GLEATON (#39) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1987-1989)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 481.09
243rd Royals Player in Franchise History
Jerry Don Gleaton (one of the few players in major league history to use all three names regularly), signed as a free agent in 1986 after playing for the Chicago White Sox. He became a regular left-hander in the bullpen, pitching 50 2/3 innings in his first season in 48 appearances. His best game came against the Texas Rangers on May 24, 1987 when he earned the win pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, striking three and allowing only one hit. His ERA dropped to 3.55 in 1988 in 42 relief appearances. However, by 1989, Gleaton had an 8.22 ERA by the end of May and he was sent down to AAA Omaha. He returned in late August and brought his ERA down to 5.65. He would be traded by the Royals to the Detroit Tigers in 1990 for a minor league player. He finished his Royals career with a 4.19 ERA in 105 relief appearances.
RANK #248 – TODD BENZINGER (#38) – First Base (1991)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 486.16
310th Royals Player in Franchise History
Todd Benzinger was traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Carmelo Martinez in July of 1991. The Royals had been platooning Warren Cromartie and Carmelo Martinez at first base, but after the trade, Benzinger became the full-time player at the position. Benzinger hit .294 for the season and hit two home runs. One of the home runs was a grand slam on July 23, 1991 against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a much more effective first baseman defensively than Cromartie or Martinez by only committing three errors in 649 1/3 innings played. At the end of the season, however, Benzinger was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Chris Gwynn.
RANK #247 – JOEL PERALTA (#57) – Middle Relief Pitcher (2006-2007)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 488.54
625th Royals Player in Franchise History
Joel Peralta was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals in 2005 after being released by the Anaheim Angels. He became a major part of the bullpen in 2006, making 64 appearances in relief and striking out 57. He made 62 appearances in 2007 with an improved 3.80 ERA. However, in 2008, Peralta began to struggle. His workload was more limited and he finished his last season with the Royals with a 5.98 ERA. He was released by the Royals after a bad spring training in 2009 and he was picked up by the Colorado Rockies. Peralta had a 3-8 record in 214 innings pitched and a career 4.54 ERA.
RANK #246 – RUDY LAW (#7) – Utility Outfield (1986)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 490.59
223rd Royals Player in Franchise History
Rudy Law signed with the Kansas City Royals after being released by the Chicago White Sox. Law played as a backup outfielder, switching from right to left field. He hit .261 for the season, but only had 36 RBIs in 307 at bats. Law’s best game came against his former team on May 24, 1986 when he went 3-5 with a home run and three RBIs as the Royals beat the White Sox 7-6. Rudy Law was released at the end of the season by the Royals due to the up and coming Bo Jackson’s success. Law ended his major league career with the Royals after playing in 87 games.
RANK #245 – JOSE SANTIAGO (#46) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1997-2001)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 493.31
421st Royals Player in Franchise History
Jose Santiago was drafted by the Royals in 1992. He made his major league debut on June 7, 1997. That season, Santiago only made four appearances. His breakout year would be 1999 when Santiago pitched 34 games in relief and sporting a 3.42 ERA. Although he bounced back and forth from Kansas City to the minors, Santiago pitched in 105 games with a 13-12 record while in Kansas City. In June of 2001, Santiago was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for starting pitcher Paul Byrd.
RANK #244 – VIDA BLUE (#33) – Starting Pitcher (1982-1983)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 493.58
175th Royals Player in Franchise History
Former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner Vida Blue was traded by the San Francisco Giants, along with Bob Tufts, to the Kansas City Royals for Renie Martin, Atlee Hammaker, Craig Chamberlain and Brad Wellman. Blue was inserted into the starting rotation of Larry Gura, Paul Splittorff and Dennis Leonard. Blue stated in 31 games in his first season, with a record of 13-12 and an ERA of 3.78. He led the team with 103 strikeouts in 1982. One of his best performances was on June 1, 1982 when he pitched only five innings against the Chicago White Sox, but had nine strikeouts. Problems plagued Blue in 1983 when his production dropped. He plead guilty, along with Willie Wilson, Willie Aikens and Jerry Martin, for attempting to purchase cocaine. After the guilty plea, Blue was released and did not play baseball again until 1985 for San Francisco. Vida Blue was 13-17 with a 4.49 ERA as a Kansas City Royals pitcher in 50 appearances.
RANK #243 – ANGEL SALAZAR (#2) – Shortstop (1986-1987)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 496.39
222nd Royals Player in Franchise History
In 1986, Angel Salazar was traded to the Kansas City Royals from the New York Mets for Tony Ferreira. Salazar had not played in the major leagues since 1984 when he played for the Montreal Expos. Despite his history as a poor hitter, Salazar was made the opening day shortstop for the Royals due to the departure of Onix Concepcion the previous year. In his first season with the Royals, Salazar had the best performance of his career with a .245 batting average. By the end of the season, however, Salazar began sharing time at shortstop with Buddy Biancalana. His best game was on September 7, 1986 when he went 2-3 with a double and three RBIs. By 1987, it was clear that Salazar was not meeting up to expectations, hitting only .205 on the season. By August, Salazar was replaced by rookie Ross Jones at shortstop. The Royals decided to trade Salazar to the Cincinnati Reds, along with pitcher Danny Jackson in exchange for shortstop Kurt Stillwell and pitcher Ted Power. Salazar only hit .224 for the Royals, yet logged 1,658 2/3 innings at shortstop.
RANK #242 – JOE ZDEB (#19) – Left Field (1977-1979)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 496.46
115th Royals Player in Franchise History
Joe Zdeb played his entire career for the Kansas City Royals. He was selected in the fourth round of the free-agent draft in 1971. After Jim Wohlford was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers, Zdeb was called up to become the opening-day left fielder for the Royals in 1977. Zdeb platooned the position with Tom Poquette that year. He eventually became a utility outfielder before he was sent to the minors after the rise of Willie Wilson. In 1980, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox. His best game was on July 1, 1977 when Zdeb went 5-5 against the Cleveland Indians. In that game, Zdeb had two doubles, a homerun and four RBIs as the Royals routed Cleveland 12-2. He played in a total of 180 games with Kansas City.
RANK #241 – ERVIN SANTANA (#54) – Starting Pitcher (2013)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 497.37
762nd Royals Player in Franchise History
Ervin Santana was traded by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the Kansas City Royals, with cash, for a minor league player. Santana became part of a one-two punch in the starting rotation along with recently acquired James Shields. Unfortunately for Santana, he had the worst run support of any starting pitcher in the American League. He had a 9-10 record with the Royals with a 3.24 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 211 innings pitched. He was the winning pitcher in the home opener for the Royals, pitching eight innings and giving up only one earned run. He did not re-sign with the Royals and signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2014.
Tavish Whiting is an American Government teacher in Lee's Summit, MO.