Did You Know They Were Royals?

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The Royals have had many players who made names for themselves in Kansas City.  However, they've had many great players come through that made their names in other places.  Here are those players.

MLB.com Executive Columnist and former Kansas City Star writer, Joe Posnanski, wrote an article named He Played Where?  Majors’ best ‘irony jerseys’ in which he listed players who were known for playing for one team and spent a part of their time with another team.  Players like Willie Mays playing for the New York Mets and Steve Carlton playing for the Minnesota Twins.

This led me to go through the list of all-time Royals and see who played for the Royals that many of you may not know or remember that they played for the Royals.

The following is a list of people who played for the Royals but are remembered for playing with other teams.

Jose Bautista (2004) No. 27:

Before he became a six-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Blue Jays postseason hero, and a villain to Royals fans everywhere, Royals fans actually cheered for this guy; albeit briefly.

In 2004, Bautista was just starting his Major League career.  He played thirteen games for the Royals, hitting a line of .200/.231/.240 before being traded to the New York Mets for Justin Huber.  The Royals were his third stop that year while he played for four teams.

Vida Blue (1982-83) No. 33 & No. 14:

Vida Blue was one of the best pitchers of the 1970s and was instrumental for the Oakland A’s winning three straight World Series titles from 1972-74.  In 1971, he won the American Cy Young Award and the American League Most Valuable Player. 

After a few seasons with the San Francisco Giants he was traded to the Royals and was supposed to be the veteran presence in a young pitching staff.  However, his production with the Royals bwas not close to what he once was.  He finished 13-17 with a 4.49 ERA in parts of two seasons with the Royals.  In 1983, he went 0-5 with a 6.01 ERA before being released by the Royals when it was found out that he was using cocaine.  He would plead guilty to cocaine usage after the 1983 season and took part in the 1985 Pittsburgh drug trials.

Tom Browning (1995) No. 32:

Tom Browning was an All-Star pitcher with the Cincinnati Reds and a vital piece in the Reds upsetting the Oakland A’s in the 1990 World Series.  I’ve followed the Royals for as far as I can remember (1992, I think) and I do not remember at all Tom Browning pitching for the Royals.

Browning only pitched two games for the Royals.  He pitched 5.2 innings while giving up five runs in an 8-1 loss to the Angels and, in his final start of his career, he only lasted 4.1 innings while giving up four runs in a 10-3 loss to the A’s.

Bill Buckner (1988-89) No. 14:

Buckner will unfortunately be remembered for his infamous miscue in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.  However, he was actually a really good ball player.  Buckner was an All-Star and even won a batting title for the Chicago Cubs.

When the Royals signed Buckner in 1988, he was well past his prime.  He was signed to give George Brett a day off and also serve as a designated hitter on occasion.  In his two years with the Royals, he hit a line of .239/.269/.316.

Orlando Cepeda (1974) No. 30:

Cepeda was an eleven-time All-Star, a Rooke of the Year, a Most Valuable Player, helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title in 1967, and was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  However, most people forget that he spent the last year of his career with the Kansas City Royals.

He only played thirty-three games with the Royals, hitting a paltry .215/.282/.290, however, his plaque in Cooperstown will always show that he played in Kansas City for one year of his career.

Bucky Dent (1984) No. 21:

As Boston Red Sox fans refer to him, Bucky “F***ing” Dent played for the Royals in 1984.  Dent was a three-time All-Star, two-time World Series Champion, and the Most Valuable Player of the 1978 World Series.

Dent played his final season with the Royals.  However, he only played in eleven games, going 3-for-9 with one run batted in.

Kirk Gibson (1991) No. 30:

Gibson was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1988, he helped both the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers to World Series titles (including hitting one of the most iconic home runs in World Series history), and he was the Most Valuable Player of the 1984 American League Championship Series (a series where the Tigers swept the Royals).  However, Gibson did spend a year with the Royals.

By the time the Royals acquired Gibson, he was on the downside of his career.  Injuries and age had caught up to him.  Gibson did, however, manage to slug sixteen home runs for the Royals while also stealing eighteen bases.  He hit .236/.341/.403 with Kansas City before leaving for Pittsburgh the next season.

Dave Henderson (1994) No. 42:

Henderson was an All-Star with the Oakland A’s and a postseason hero for both the Boston Red Sox and A’s, even helping the A’s win a World Series in 1989.  Little do people know that Henderson finished his career with the Royals in 1994.

In the strike-shortened season, Henderson played fifty-six games for the Royals while hitting .247/.304/.404 for the last good Royals team for the better part of two decades.

Harmon Killebrew (1975) No. 3:

Killebrew was a thirteen-time All-Star, an American League Most Valuable Player, and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  He hit 573 home runs during his career with the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins, even helping lead the Twins to the American League Pennant in 1965.  Little do people know that Killebrew hit fourteen of those home runs with the Royals in 1975.

Killebrew hit .199/.317/.375 for the Royals in 1975 and helped provide veteran leadership to a young Royals team that would soon dominate the American League Western Division.

Hideo Nomo (2008) No. 91:

“Nomomania” started in 1995 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and ended in 2008 with the Royals.  Nomo was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1995 and was an All-Star the same year.  He even pitched a no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996.

In 2008, he attempted a comeback with the Royals after three seasons away from the majors.  It didn’t go so well.  Nomo pitched just three games for the Royals, getting no decisions and posting an 18.69 ERA.

Gaylord Perry (1983) No. 36:

Perry played for seven different teams over the course of his career.  He was a five-time All-Star, two-time Cy Young Award winner, and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  He also was famous for adding foreign substances to baseballs without getting caught in one of the worst kept secrets in baseball history.

In 1983, Perry was signed by the Royals after being released from the Mariners.  Perry pitched fourteen games for the Royals, posting a 4-4 record with a 4.27 ERA.  However, his most famous moment was on July 24, 1983.  Many people remember the Pine Tar incident.  What people don’t realize is that after Brett was called out, Perry took the bat from the umpires and ran back to the clubhouse with Yankees security trying to catch him.  It was fitting that a bat used with a foreign substance on it was taken by a guy who used foreign substances to a great career.

Miguel Tejada (2013) No. 24:

Tejada was big for the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles.  He was a six-time All-Star, the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 2005, and the American League Most Valuable Player in 2002.  Tejada, though, finished his career in 2013 with the Royals.

Tejada played fifty-three games with the Royals, slugging three home runs and hitting .288/.317/.378 before being suspended by Major League Baseball for using performance enhancing drugs.

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Author: Christopher Till

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