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 #180 to 151, have biographical and statistical information about their tenure in Kansas City.
RANK #179 – GARY THURMAN (#25) – Utility Outfield (1987-1992)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 668.84
250th Royals Player in Franchise History
Gary Thurman was drafted in the first round in 1983. He made his major league debut with the Royals on August 30, 1987 against the Chicago White Sox. His first two seasons saw only limited appearances in Kansas City, playing the majority of his time in AAA Omaha. In his 1989 season, Thurman made 72 appearance with the Royals as defensive relief or as a pinch runner. He had 16 stolen bases in 16 chances. He had a short stay in Kansas City during April of 1990 before being sent to the minor leagues. He was brought back in September with limited playing time. The 1991 season was his best, with 80 appearances as a backup outfielder batting .277 with 15 stolen bases. The next year, Thurman saw more playing time in Kansas City, but his batting average slipped in mid-June. He was released prior to the season in 1993 and picked up off waivers by the Detroit Tigers. Thurman hit .245 in 325 appearances with the Kansas City Royals.
RANK #179 – EDINSON VOLQUEZ (#36) – Starting Pitcher (2015-2016)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 670.03
802nd Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran Pitcher Edinson Volquez signed as a free agent in 2015 after being the ace of the rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Known at “Eddy,” Volquez became the most consistent pitcher in the Royals’ starting rotation during the 2015 season. He was the only pitcher to pitch over 200 innings during the season. Volquez had a 13-9 record in 34 appearances with the Royals. Despite having the third-most base-on-balls in the American League, Volquez had 155 strikeouts in 200 1/3 innings pitched. He averaged just over six innings per game and recorded 20 quality starts. His efforts help propel the Royals into the playoffs for the second-straight season. In the ALDS and ALCS, Volquez pitched more than any other pitcher on the staff. He earned the first win in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays after pitching six scoreless innings. When the Royals made the World Series, Volquez was tapped to start the series against the New York Mets. About one hour before the first game, Volquez’s father passed away suddenly in the Dominican Republic. Per the request of his wife, Volquez was not told of the death until after his start against the Mets. He pitched six innings, giving up three runs. The Royals won the game in 14 innings. After being taken out in the sixth, he rushed to the airport to be with his family. There was some question if he was going to return. During Game 4, he returned to the team while they were in New York. Volquez then pitched in Game 5. He pitched six innings and gave up only two runs to help the Royals win their second-ever World Series. Volquez was the opening day starter in 2016 and is currently still pitching for Kansas City.
RANK #178 – JOSE LIND (#13) – Second Base (1993-1995)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 678.95
342nd Royals Player in Franchise History (along with Greg Gagne and Felix Jose)
Jose Lind was traded to the Kansas City Royals from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Joel Johnston and Dennis Moeller. His cousin was former Kansas City shortstop Onix Concepcion. Lind would become the starting second baseman for the Royals over the next three seasons. In his first month with the Royals, Lind was batting .297 with 10 RBIs in 20 games. He was sometimes known as “Chico” Lind because of his playful behavior. Lind had won the National League Gold Glove the previous year and was now considered one of the top defensive second basemen of the American League. He ended the season with a .248 batting average. His offensive output improved in 1994, but the season was cut short by the baseball strike. Sometime before the 1995 season, Lind was having personal problems. His wife had left him and he began using cocaine. After a game with the Texas Rangers on May 31, 1995, Lind left the Royals. He was released by mid-July and was picked up by the California Angels. He only played 15 games with the Angels before ending his major league career. Lind is eighth all-time in innings played at second base with 2,141 2/3. Jose Lind’s career batting average with the Kansas City was .258.
RANK #177 – JOE FOY (#22) – Third Base (1969)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 679.04
1st Royals Player in Franchise History (along with Jerry Adair, Wally Bunker, Chuck Harrison, Jackie Hernandez, Ed Kirkpatrick, Bob Oliver, Lou Piniella, and Ellie Rodriguez)
Joe Foy was the first Royals player to play at third base. He was selected from the Boston Red Sox in the 1968 Expansion Draft. Foy hit .262 in his only season with the Royals and started in 107 games at third base. He also spot-played every position except pitcher and catcher in the Royals’ inaugural season. During the season, he had a career high 71 RBIs and 37 stolen bases. Perhaps his best games with the Royals came on May 4, 1969 against the California Angels. In the game, he went 2-4, scored two runs, hit a home run, and batted in three RBIs. He finished the season 5th in the American League in stolen bases and fourth in the league in fielding percentage as a third baseman. At the end of the season, Foy was involved in one of the most important trades in Royals history when he was traded to the New York Mets for starting pitcher Bob Johnson and center fielder Amos Otis. He played 968 1/3 innings at third base for the season.
RANK #176 – BRAYAN PENA (#27) – Catcher (2009-2012)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 679.99
690th Royals Player in Franchise History
Brayan Pena was claimed off waivers from the Atlanta Braves in May of 2008, but was immediately designated for assignment with the AAA Omaha Royals. Pena split time with Kansas City and AAA Omaha, being called up to play as backup catcher to Miguel Olivo in place of the injured John Buck. He hit .263 with six home runs in 64 appearances. By 2010, he was the sole backup catcher to Jason Kendall for nearly all of the season. In September, starter Jason Kendall was on the disabled list and Pena took over as the starter. In 2011, the Royals acquired another starting catcher, Matt Treanor. Pena took over the starting role when Treanor became injured in July. In 2012, the Royals had two backup catchers with Pena and Humberto Quintero to rookie sensation Salvador Perez. At the conclusion of the 2012 season, Pena was granted free agency and he signed with the Detroit Tigers. Pena hit .251 with the Kansas City Royals in 1,505 2/3 innings at catcher.
RANK #175 – DARRELL MAY (#34) – Starting Pitcher (2002-2004)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 680.81
522nd Royals Player in Franchise History
Darrell May signed as a free agent for the Kansas City Royals after playing four years in Japan. May struggled in his first season, starting 21 games in 30 appearances and only posting a 5.35 ERA and a 4-10 record. However, May had a big turnaround in 2003, starting in 32 games with a 10-8 record with a 3.77 ERA, striking out 115. His best game came July 2, 2003 when he pitched a complete game victory against the Cleveland Indians, giving up just two earned runs with three strikeouts. Despite having poor run support, Darrell May was one of the top 10 pitchers in the American League in 2003. Unfortunately, his 2003 success did not carry over to the following season. Although May was fifth in the American League in complete games, his ERA shot up to 5.61 and he had the worst win-loss record in the American League with 9-19 record. After the 2004 season, May was traded, along with Ryan Bukvich, to the San Diego Padres for Terrence Long and Dennis Tankersley. May had a 23-37 record with Kansas City and a career era of 4.81 in 527 1/3 innings pitched.
RANK #174 – MIKE ARMSTRONG (#31) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1982-1983)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 683.00
179th Royals Player in Franchise History
Mike Armstrong was purchased from the San Diego Padres in 1982. In Kansas City, Armstrong pitched 110 games in middle relief for two seasons, many of which were as a set-up man for closer Dan Quisenberry. Armstrong’s most memorable game came in 1983 when he was the winning pitcher in the famous “Pine Tar Incident” game on July 24, 1983. After the successful protest by the Kansas City Royals, Armstrong and the Royals resumed the game on August 18, 1983 to an empty Yankee Stadium. After the 1983 season, Armstrong was involved with a trade with the New York Yankees that would bring Steve Balboni to Kansas City. Armstrong pitched 215 1/3 innings for the Royals.
RANK #173 – TERRY SHUMPERT (#3) – Second Base (1990-1994)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 685.55
285th Royals Player in Franchise History
Terry Shumpert was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1987. Shumpert debuted in the major leagues with Kansas City on May 1, 1990. Shumpert played in place of the slumping Frank White in the month of May. He was brought back in September for some limited playing time. In 1991, with the retirement of Frank White, Shumpert became the everyday second baseman for the Kansas City Royals. He was touted as the next Frank White, but he did not quite live up to the expectations, only hitting .217 for the season with five home runs. Shumpert played most of 1992 and 1993 in the minor leagues with very limited time in Kansas City. In 1994, Shumpert had his best season, hitting a .240 batting average while swapping time with Jose Lind at second base. On May 14, 1994, he was part of only the fourth triple play in Royals history, going 5-4-3 on the play. Four days later on May 18, Shumpert hit his only career grand slam against the Seattle Mariners. At the end of the 1994 season, Shumpert was sent to the Boston Red Sox in a conditional deal. He was a career .220 hitter for the Royals and played 1,894 innings at second base.
RANK #172 – GENE GARBER (#32) – Closing Pitcher (1973-1974, 1987-1988)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 687.00
76th Royals Player in Franchise History
Gene Garber was traded to the Kansas City Royals from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitcher Jim Rooker in 1972. In his first season, Rooker pitched primarily in relief with eight spot starts. He was second on the team in saves with 11 behind Doug Bird, who had 20 saves. Garber had adopted a change-up pitch that was delivered submarine-style which became very effective from the mound. In July of 1974, Garber’s contact was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the next 13 years, Garber played for the Phillies and the Atlanta Braves with great success. In September of 1987, the Braves traded Garber back to the Kansas City Royals for a player-to-be-named-later (announced later as catcher Terry Bell). He immediately became the closer for the Royals in place of the aging Dan Quisenberry. He posted eight saves in the month of September for the Royals. By 1988, his role with the Royals was changed to that of middle relief pitcher. On July 4, 1988, due to the success of Steve Farr as closer, both Gene Garber and Dan Quisenberry were released from the Royals. This ended Garber’s major league career. Garber had 26 saves in 104 appearances with the Royals.
RANK #171 – BILL BUTLER (#29) – Starting Pitcher (1969-1971)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 687.96
19th Royals Player in Franchise History
Bill Butler was selected in the 1968 Expansion Draft from the Detroit Tigers. His major league debut came on April 9, 1969 against the Minnesota Twins when he pitched five innings of relief and had six strikeouts in the second victory in Royals history. Butler was ranked 10th in the American League his rookie year with 156 strikeouts. His best game came on July 2, 1969 in a 1-0 complete game shutout of the California Angels. Butler was plagued with injuries in 1970 and had an abysmal 4-12 record. Early in 1972, he was sent down to AAA Omaha and on July 11, his contract was sold to the Cleveland Indians. Butler logged 378 2/3 innings pitched for Kansas City.
RANK #170 – WILSON BETEMIT (#46) – Third Base (2010-2011)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 691.19
712th Royals Player in Franchise History
Wilson Betemit signed as a free agent in 2009 after playing for the Chicago White Sox. He began the 2010 season at AAA Omaha until he was called up in late May. Betemit was primarily used as a pinch hitter until Alberto Callaspo was traded. Then, Betemit took over the day-to-day third base duties. He excelled at the new role, hitting .297 on the season with 13 home runs. On June 10, Betemit hit two home runs on both sides of the plate against the Minnesota Twins, becoming only the fifth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.. On September 15, 2010, Betemit hit a grand slam against the Oakland Athletics. Betemit continued his success in 2011 at third base until he was traded in late July to the Detroit Tigers for a minor league player. Betemit hit .290 while in Kansas City, hitting 16 home runs in 141 appearances.
RANK #169 – VADA PINSON (#28) – Right Field (1974-1975)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 693.41
87th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran outfielder Vada Pinson was traded to the Kansas City Royals by the California Angels in exchange for Barry Raziano in 1974. He split time in right field with rookie Al Cowens. Pinson hit .276 with six home runs in his first season with the Royals. His best game came on August 21, 1974 against the Cleveland Indians. Pinson went 3-5 with a grand slam and four RBIs. Despite being on the opening day roster in 1975, Pinson played the season as a backup outfielder, again splitting the backup duties with Al Cowens. He was released at the conclusion of the season and ultimately picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. He did not make the Brewers’ roster, thus ending his major league career. Pinson was a .252 career hitter while logging 1,153 2/3 innings in right field with the Royals.
RANK #168 – GREGG JEFFERIES (#9) – Third Base (1992)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 693.77
320th Royals Player in Franchise History
In 1991, Gregg Jefferies was traded to the Kansas City Royals, along with Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller, for Cy Young winner Bret Saberhagen and utility player Bill Pecota. He became the everyday third baseman for the Kansas City Royals, hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 75 RBIs. Jefferies played 1,288 1/3 innings at third base durring the season. On May 20, 1992, Jefferies hit a grand slam against the Chicago White Sox to help the Royals beat Chicago 7-2. However, he was traded at the end of the season to the St. Louis Cardinals for Felix Jose and Craig Wilson. Some consider this trade to be one of the worst in Royals history.
RANK #167 – RUNELVYS HERNANDEZ (#40) – Starting Pitcher (2002-2006)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 695.37
531st Royals Player in Franchise History
Runelvys Hernandez was signed by the Kansas City Royals in 1997 as a non-drafted free agent. He made his major league debut on July 15, 2002. He started 12 games in his first half-season with an ERA of 4.36. In 2003, he was tapped to be the opening day starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. He pitched six scoreless innings and earned the win against the Chicago White Sox. He began his first full season perfectly, with a 1.36 ERA by the first of May. Pain became a major factor as the season progress, and Hernandez struggled. He ended his season in mid-August and had Tommy John surgery, which kept him out of the major leagues for the entire 2004 season. He returned in 2005, but his abilities were not what they used to be. His season ERA shot up to 5.52. He began having a weight issue as well as an issue with his temper. He got into a fight with fellow teammate John Buck in the dugout. He was involved in a bench-clearing brawl in August in which seven players were ejected. His last season with the Royals continued to be bad for Hernandez. His lofty ERA of 6.48 was the worst on the team. The one bright spot of the season was on August 26, 2006 when he had his only complete game shutout of his career against Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays, one of the best pitchers in baseball. Hernandez was released at the conclusion of the season and he signed with the Boston Red Sox. He had a 25-33 record with the Royals in 78 starts over 1,149 2/3 innings pitched.
RANK #166 – TONY SOLAITA (#8) – First Base (1974-1976)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 703.22
90th Royals Player in Franchise History
Tony Solaita was selected in the Rule 5 Draft in 1973 from the Pittsburgh Pirates. He became the first player in the major leagues from the American Samoa. Solaita was a backup first baseman to John Mayberry and played some time at designated hitter. On July 18, 1974, Solaita hit a 550 foot home run at Yankee Stadium, into the wind, that was said to be one of the longest in Yankee Stadium history. On June 18, 1975, Solaita went 3-3 with two monster home runs, scored five runs and drove in four RBIs. On September 7, 1975, Solaita hit three home runs in one game and drove in four runs against the California Angels. During the 1975 season, Solaita hit 16 home runs in 231 at bats, one of the best home run-to-at bat ratios in Royals history. Midway during the 1976 season, Solaita was released by the Royals and picked up by the California Angels. While in Kansas City, Solaita hit .260 with 23 home runs in 220 games.
RANK #165 – MIKE MAGNANTE (#57) – Middle Relief Pitcher (1991-1996)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 705.36
305th Royals Player in Franchise History
Mike Magnante was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1988. He made his major league debut with the Royals on April 22, 1991. A left-handed pitcher, Magnante appeared in 191 games with the Royals, mostly in relief and had a career ERA of 4.40. He is also credited with having 22 holds in Royals history. He was a regular with the Royals for his first two seasons, however, he was demoted to AAA Omaha in 1993 and only pitched in seven games with the Royals. He would continue to bounce back and forth between Omaha and Kansas City throughout the rest of his Royals career. In 1996, the Royals released Magnante and he was picked up by the Houston Astros. He pitched a total of 325 1/3 innings with the Royals.
RANK #164 – JOE KEOUGH (#16) – Right Field (1969-1972)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 712.00
16th Royals Player in Franchise History
Joe Keough was selected from the Oakland Athletics during the 1968 Expansion Draft. He entered the first ever game in Royals history against the Minnesota Twins in the bottom of the 12th inning as a pinch hitter. Keough singled into right field to bring the go-ahead run, Joe Foy, to home plate and win the first game ever. Keough was the first player in Royals history to have a game-winning RBI. In 1970, he was able to make the everyday lineup in right field, but his season abruptly ended when he broke his leg. His 1970 season average was .322. He returned in 1971 and was selected to the opening day roster in right field. That year, he started 87 games in right field. His career batting average was .250 with Kansas City. After the season, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in early 1973 for Jim Lyttle. Keough played 1,059 2/3 innings in right field.
RANK #163 – DEE BROWN (#27) – Left Field (1998-2004)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 714.28
452nd Royals Player in Franchise History
Dee Brown was drafted in the first round by the Kansas City Royals in 1996. He made his major league debut on September 14, 1998 against the Oakland Athletics. Between 1998 and 2000, Brown only played 32 games in Kansas City, but in 2001, Brown was selected as designated hitter on opening day. For the first half of 2001, Brown split time between designated hitter and left field before permanently playing left field halfway through the season. In 2001, Brown hit .245 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs. His best game came on May 30, 2001 when he went 2-5 with a homerun and three RBIs as designated hitter. However, the following season, Brown was sent back to AAA Omaha for most of the season. In 2003 and 2004, Brown was brought back to play in more than 50 games each season, but he was lacking the power and consistency of other Royals outfielders. Despite this, Brown did manage to hit two grand slams in 2004. The first was on April 9 against Detroit and the second was on July 16 against Minnesota. It was, however, not enough for the Royals to keep him on the roster. Brown was granted free agency at the conclusion of the 2004 season and he signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Brown hit .234 for the Royals in his career with 14 home runs and 1,321 2/3 innings played in left field.
RANK #162 – CRAIG PAQUETTE (#12) – Third Base (1996-1997)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 715.16
399th Royals Player in Franchise History
Craig Paquette was released by the Oakland Athletics in 1996 and picked up off waivers by the Kansas City Royals. The 1996 season became the best season of his career as Paquette made 118 appearances as a utility player, mostly playing third base, first base and outfielder. Paquette showed power by hitting 22 home runs in his first season. However, he led the team in strikeouts with 101 on the season. He was picked to be the opening day starter at third base in 1997, but his numbers went south. In one bright moment on May 24, 1997, Paquette hit a grand slam off of Jamie Moyer of the Seattle Mariners. But Paquette only hit .230 with eight home runs and was demoted to AAA Omaha in late July and replaced by the newly acquired Dean Palmer. Paquette’s contract was not renewed and he was signed by the New York Mets. Paquette only hit a career .248 in 195 appearances with the Royals.
RANK #161 – JIM SUNDBERG (#8) – Catcher (1985-1986)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 716.39
215th Royals Player in Franchise History
Veteran catcher Jim Sundberg was acquired by the Kansas City Royals in one of the most complex trades in Royals history prior to the 1985 season. The four-team trade brought Sundberg to Kansas City, sent Don Slaught to the Texas Rangers and Frank Wills to the New York Mets. Sundberg was one of the best fielding catchers in the American League, despite the fact that he was clearly in the twilight years of his career. Sundberg hit .245 on the season with 10 home runs. He helped lead the Kansas City Royals to their first-ever World Series championship in 1985. In 1986, Sundberg hit a grand slam home run against the Detroit Tigers on June 11. Despite this great game, Sundberg only hit .212 for the season with 12 home runs. He was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 1987 in exchange for Thad Bosley and Dave Gumpert. Sundberg is 11th all-time for innings played as catcher with 2,060 2/3 innings. He hit .227 in his time with Kansas City.
RANK #160 – ROSS GLOAD (#7) – First Base (2007-2008)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 740.66
645th Royals Player in Franchise History (along with Alex Gordon and Gil Meche)
Ross Gload was traded to the Kansas City Royals by the Chicago White Sox in 2006 for pitcher Andy Sisco. On opening day of 2007, Gload started the game in left field, but he split time during the season with Ryan Shealy at first base. Gload hit .288 for the season with seven home runs in 320 at bats, the most of his career. His best game came on August 4, 2007 against the New York Yankees when he went 3-4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and three RBIs. Gload was in the top ten players in the American League in sacrifice flies in 2007. Gload continued to be the Royals primary first baseman in 2008 with a .273 batting average. After signing a two year deal with the Royals in the offseason, Gload was traded to the Florida Marlins, with cash, for a minor league player. Gload hit .280 and logged 1,554 innings at first base with the Kansas City Royals.
RANK #159 – CHILI DAVIS (#44) – Designated Hitter (1997)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 742.83
415th Royals Player in Franchise History
Thomas “Chili” Davis was the first Jamaican to play major league baseball. He was traded to the Kansas City Royals from the Anaheim Angels for Mark Gubicza and a minor league player. Davis played more games as designated hitter than any other Royals player that season. With the Royals, he hit a career high 30 home runs while batting .279. On April 25, 1997, Chili Davis hit a grand slam off of Richie Lewis of the Oakland Athletics in the 10-3 victory. On June 7, Davis became only the third player in franchise history to hit two home runs in the same game from both sides of the plate against the Texas Rangers. On August 14, Davis hit 4-4 with two home runs and five RBIs. Chili Davis’ season was one of the most productive by a designated hitter in Royals’ history. His 590 plate appearances as a designated hitter is ninth all-time in franchise history. He was granted free agency at the end of the season and went on to play for the New York Yankees.
RANK #158 – KYLE DAVIES (#34) – Starting Pitcher (2007-2011)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 745.92
661st Royals Player in Franchise History
Kyle Davies was traded to the Kansas City Royals by the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Octavio Dotel in July of 2007. He was placed in the lineup for the injured Jorge de la Rosa in August. Davies had a very poor showing with a 6.66 ERA in 11 starts. Davies began the 2008 season at AAA Omaha before being called back up to Kansas City. He had great success at AAA level and after his callup, he posted the best ERA of his career with 4.06. His best game came on September 15, 2008 with a 3-0 win over the Seattle Mariners, pitching eight scoreless innings and striking out eight. He started the 2009 season in the rotation, but in June he was sent back to the minors with a 5.76 ERA. When he returned in in August, his first game he gave up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against Seattle. In 2010, he spent the entire season in Kansas City, but only had a 5.34 ERA in 32 starts. During the 2011 season, he sustained an injury in August after very limited appearances during the season. He was released after his injury by the Royals and was picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays. He never played in the major leagues again. He had a 29-44 in 531 record during innings pitched with the Royals. His 5.34 career ERA is the highest of any starting pitcher in Royals history.
RANK #157 – WALLY BUNKER (#27) – Starting Pitcher (1969-1971)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 750.45
1st Royals Player in Franchise History (along with Jerry Adair, Joe Foy, Chuck Harrison, Jackie Hernandez, Ed Kirkpatrick, Bob Oliver, Lou Piniella, and Ellie Rodriguez)
Wally Bunker started the first game in Royals history against the Minnesota Twins. He was selected by the Royals in the 1968 Expansion Draft. Bunker is considered the first pitching ace in Royals history. Despite having a career 16-25 record with the Royals, Bunker managed to have a 3.70 ERA with the Royals in his three-year Kansas City career. While in Kansas City, Bunker had 52 starts and 204 strikeouts. He was known for his outstanding sinker pitch. His career game came on June 3, 1969 against the Washington Senators where he pitched a complete game for the victory and struck out 10 batters. Bunker’s career was cut short when he developed arm problems and was released during the 1971 season. With this release, his major league career ended. Bunker pitched a total of 376 2/3 innings with the Royals.
RANK #156 – PAUL BYRD (#36) – Starting Pitcher (2001-2002)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 750.82
507th Royals Player in Franchise History
Paul Byrd was traded to the Kansas City Royals by the Philadelphia Phillies for relief pitcher Jose Santiago in June of 2001. He was immediately inserted into the struggling starting rotation with positive results. He posted a 6-6 record and an ERA of 4.05 with the Royals in the remainder of the 2001 season. In 2002, Byrd had a masterful season with a 17-11 record despite the Royals having a 100 loss season. He was ranked one of the top ten pitchers in the major leagues. He led the American League with seven complete games. He also established a club record 28 1/3 straight innings without giving up a walk in the beginning of a season. His best game with the Royals came on April 22, 2002 with a 6-0 complete game shutout of the Detroit Tigers, striking out four and giving up six hits with no walks. He became a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Atlanta Braves. He had a 3.95 career ERA with the Royals in 48 games started.
RANK #155 – BUCK MARTINEZ (#21) – Catcher (1969-1977)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 757.22
30th Royals Player in Franchise History
Buck Martinez was a backup catcher for the Kansas City Royals for nine years. He was acquired in a trade of minor league players with the Houston Astros in 1968. He was brought up from the minor leagues in mid-June of 1969. He appeared in 72 games in 1969 and was only brought up from the minor leagues for six games in 1970. Despite being on the opening day roster in 1971, he split time with the minor leagues until 1975 when he became a regular backup catcher. In 1976, Martinez started all five games of the ALCS against the New York Yankees as catcher. Martinez’s best game was the second game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins on September 14, 1974. In the game, he went 2-4 with a home run and four RBIs as the Royals beat the Twins 13-3. Martinez was traded, along with Mark Littell, to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for closer Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky. He hit a career .222 for the Royals and ranks seventh all-time in innings as a catcher with 2,522 2/3.
RANK #154 – MIGUEL OLIVO (#21) – Catcher (2008-2009)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 759.44
669th Royals Player in Franchise History
Miguel Olivo signed as a free agent in 2007 to the Kansas City Royals after playing for the Florida Marlins. In his first season with the Royals, Olivo was the backup catcher to John Buck. He hit .255 with 12 home runs in 84 appearances. In 2009, Olivo replaced Buck as the primary catcher for the Royals. Olivo showed a lot of power at the plate, hitting .249 with a team-leading 23 home runs. His best game came on September 18, 2009 in an 11-0 blowout of the Chicago White Sox. Olivo went 2-3 with a walk, two home runs and six RBIs. His contract was not renewed and he was picked up by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Olivo was a .251 hitter with 35 home runs in his brief career with the Royals. He logged 1,340 innings as catcher
RANK #153 – ROBERTO HERNANDEZ (#39) – Closing Pitcher (2001-2002)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 759.83
502nd Royals Player in Franchise History
In 2001, Robert Hernandez arrived in Kansas City in a complex three-team trade. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent Roberto Hernandez to Kansas City and Cory Lidle to Oakland. A.J. Hinch and Angel Berroa were sent to Kansas City from the Oakland Athletics. Oakland sent Ben Grieve to Tampa Bay and Kansas City sent Johnny Damon and Mark Ellis to Oakland. Hernandez instantly became the Royals closer. He pitched in 63 games and had 28 saves, despite having a lofty 4.12 ERA. His numbers stayed consistent into the next season with 26 saves in 53 appearances and an ERA of 4.33. His contract was not renewed and he signed with the Atlanta Braves. Hernandez had a 4.21 career ERA with the Royals in 116 relief appearances.
RANK #152 – JOEY GATHRIGHT (#2) – Center Field (2006-2008)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 761.10
634th Royals Player in Franchise History
Joey Gathright was traded by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, along with Fernando Cortez, to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher J.P. Howell in June of 2006. The trade moved David DeJesus from center field to left field. In his shortened first season with the Royals, Gathright led the team, along with Mark Teahen, in stolen bases with ten. His best game came on July 6, 2006 against the Detroit Tigers when he hit 2-3 with a triple and four RBIs. Gathright began the 2007 season on the disabled list. When he returned, he was moved to left field in favor of DeJesus remaining in center field. Gathright hit .307 in 2007, but was inconsistent in his baserunning despite his speed. His baserunning improved in 2008 by stealing 28 and hitting .254 on the season. After the season, Gathright was not retained by the Royals and he signed a contract with the Chicago Cubs. He hit .273 with the Royals with 40 stolen bases over 2 ½ seasons. He played 1,354 2/3 innings in center field.
RANK #151 – TONY GRAFFANINO (#14) – Utility Infield (2004-2005, 2006)
PERFORMANCE INDEX: 773.31
566th Royals Player in Franchise History
Tony Graffanino signed as a free agent in 2003 after playing for the Chicago White Sox. He hit .263 as the starting second baseman in the beginning of 2004. However, an injury in late July ended his first season. In 2005, Graffanino played equal time at first, second and third base. His batting average improved to .298. His best game came on May 29, 2005 against the Anaheim Angels. Graffanino hit a perfect 5-5 with a double and three RBIs. However, in mid-July, Graffanino was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Chip Ambres and a minor league player. After playing the second-half of 2005 in Boston, the Red Sox released Graffanino and he was picked up off waivers by the Royals. He was again placed in the role of infield utility player for the Royals for the first half of the season. In July of 2006, he was traded a second time to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for starting pitcher Jorge de la Rosa. Graffanino had a .274 batting average in 203 appearances during his time with the Kansas City Royals.
Tavish Whiting is an American Government teacher in Lee's Summit, MO
Danville, Kentucky -- Folks, it didn't take long, but the spreadsheet gazers of the world are already questioning the wisdom of World Series Champion™ Ned Yost. Overreacting to a couple of games of lukewarm offensive production in April, folks are calling for ALCS MVP Alcides Escobar to be ... Read more