With the Major League Baseball postseason just beginning, I thought I would celebrate each of the franchise’s and their storied pasts by selecting an All-Time Team for every club.
The teams consist of one player per infield position (1B, 2B, SS, 3B, C), three outfielders, three starting pitchers, and two relief pitchers. Each American League squad also consists of a designated hitter.
The All-Time Teams will be in order, starting with baseball’s newest clubs (Rays and Diamondbacks) and conclude with the oldest franchise, the Atlanta Braves. Without further ado, here is part ten of a 30-part series documenting each franchise’s all-time greats.
First Base: Mike Sweeney 1995-07
Perhaps one of the Royals more underrated players, Sweeney starred for the franchise during the dark years of their history. Despite never making the postseason, he stayed in Kansas City for 13 seasons, being selected to four AL All-Star teams (2000-03, 2005). After his career, Sweeney was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2015.
Second Base: Frank White 1973-90
Starring alongside George Brett during the Royals’ best seasons, White became just the second player in team history to have his jersey retired (No. 20). He helped Kansas City win back-to-back AL West titles from 1976-77, winning a Gold Glove for his 1977 performance. In 1978 White was named an All-Star for the first time, winning a Gold Glove and guiding the Royals to an AL West three-peat. After an All-Star and Gold Glove-winning season in 1979, he helped Kansas City win the 1980 AL West title and reach the World Series for the first time, receiving the ALCS MVP Award while winning his fourth Gold Glove. After two more All-Star and Gold Glove-winning campaigns in 1981 and 1982, White helped the Royals win the 1984 AL West title and in 1985 win the AL West, AL and World Series championships. He was named an All-Star while winning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger in 1986 and had his last great season in 1987, being selected to his fifth All-Star team and receiving his eighth Gold Glove. After he retired, White was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1995.
Shortstop: Freddie Patek 1971-79
One of the team’s first stars, Patek was an All-Star by his second season. He was an All-Star two more times in his career (1976, 1978), leading the AL in stolen bases during the 1977 season and helping the Royals win three straight AL West championships from 1976-78.
Third Base: George Brett 1973-93
Easily the greatest player in Royals history, Brett played 21 seasons in a Kansas City uniform, the most of any player. He was named to 13 straight All-Star teams from 1976-88, winning three Silver Sluggers (1980, 1985, 1988), three AL batting titles (1976, 1980, 1990) and a Gold Glove in 1985. Brett helped the Royals win four AL West titles in five seasons (1976-78, 1980), reaching the World Series for the first time in 1980 while winning the AL MVP Award. He again helped Kansas City capture back-to-back AL West titles in 1984 and 1985, leading the Royals to the 1985 World Series championship while being named ALCS MVP. After recording his 3,000th hit during the 1992 season, Brett retired following the 1993 campaign. After the conclusion of his storied career, his No. 5 jersey was retired by the Royals and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Catcher: Salvador Perez 2011-present
Perhaps the greatest current Royal, Perez has left his mark on the franchise in just eight seasons. Through the 2018 he has been selected to six straight AL All-Star teams, winning four consecutive Gold Gloves from 2013-16 and receiving a Silver Slugger in 2016. More importantly, Perez helped the Royals reach heights the team hadn’t seen since the mid-80s. He led the team to the 2014 AL Wild Card and AL pennants, the team’s first playoff berth since 1985. Perez guided Kansas City to even greater heights in 2015, leading the club to the AL Central, AL, and World Series championships, being named the 2015 World Series MVP.
Outfield: Amos Otis 1970-83
One of the stars during the early days of the Royals franchise, Otis was an All-Star four straight times from 1970-73, winning three Gold Gloves (1971, 1973-74) and leading the AL in stolen bases in 1971. He was named an All-Star again in 1976, helping Kansas City claim their first of three straight AL West titles. After missing the playoffs in 1979, Otis helped the Royals reclaim the AL West title in 1980, reaching the World Series for the first time. After his career, he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1986.
Outfield: Willie Wilson 1976-90
During his 15 seasons in Kansas City, Wilson was a major part of the best seasons in team history. He helped the Royals win three straight AL West titles from 1976-78 and the following season led the AL in stolen bases. After helping Kansas City win the 1980 AL West and AL pennants, Wilson received a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award. During a career best 1982 season, he was named an All-Star for the first time, winning a Silver Slugger and the AL batting title. After another All-Star selection in 1983, Wilson helped the Royals capture back-to-back AL West titles in 1984 and 1985, guiding the team to the 1985 World Series championship. After his career, he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.
Outfield: Alex Gordon 2007-present
Currently the longest-tenured Royal, Gordon has been an essential piece in helping Kansas City reach heights the team hasn’t seen in 30 years. He won his first Gold Glove in 2011 and the following season received a Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Award. Gordon was named an All-Star for the first time in 2013, winning a third Gold Glove and second Fielding Bible and in 2014 was named an All-Star, receiving a Gold Glove, Fielding Bible and Platinum Glove while guiding the Royals to the AL Wild Card and AL pennants. He was named an All-Star for the third straight time in 2015, leading the Royals to the AL Central and AL pennants and the club’s first World Series championship since 1985. More recently, Gordon received his fifth Gold Glove Award for his his performance during the 2017 season.
Designated hitter: Hal McRae 1973-87
McRae made an immediate impact in a Royals uniform, being selected to the AL All-Star team in just his third season. During an All-Star season in 1976, he helped Kansas City win its first AL West championship and led the club to two more in the following seasons. After an AL West and AL pennant winning 1980 season, McRae had a career year in 1982, being selected to his third AL All-Star team, winning a Silver Slugger while leading the AL in RBI. He then helped the Royals reclaim the AL West crown in 1984 and in 1985 helped the Royals win the AL West, AL and World Series championships. After the conclusion of his career, McRae was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1989.
Starting pitcher: Bret Saberhagen 1984-91
One of the best pitchers during the 1980s, Saberhagen made an instant impact in Kansas City, helping the Royals win the AL West title during his first season. In 1985 he guided the Royals to another AL West title, winning an AL pennant and the 1985 World Series title, being selected as World Series MVP and winning the AL Cy Young Award. After an All-Star selection in 1987, Saberhagen had his best year in 1989, leading the AL in wins and ERA, winning a Gold Glove and his second AL Cy Young Award. After an All-Star selection in 1990, Saberhagen threw his only career no-hitter during the 1991 campaign before being dealt after the season. After his career ended, he was enshrined in the Royals Hall of Fame in 2005.
Starting pitcher: Steve Busby 1972-80
A key piece of the early success of the Royals, Busby was already an All-Star by 1974. After a second straight All-Star nod in 1975, he helped Kansas City win four AL West titles in the next five seasons (1976-78, 1980), including reaching the 1980 World Series. Busby, who threw two career no-hitters, was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1986.
Starting pitcher: Mark Gubicza 1984-96
Making an instant impact in his rookie season, Gubicza helped Kansas City win the AL West title. He was important part of the next season as well, helping the Royals win the AL West, AL and World Series championships. Gubicza racked up back-to-back AL All-Star selections in 1988 and 1989 before his Royals tenure ended in 1996. Following his career, he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2006.
Relief pitcher: Dan Quisenberry 1979-88
The greatest reliever in Royals history, Quisenberry is the team’s all-time ERA leader (2.55). During just his second season he helped the Royals win the AL West and AL pennants while leading the AL in saves and receiving the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award. After winning back-to-back AL Rolaids Relief Man Awards while leading the AL in saves and making the All-Star team from 1982-83, Quisenberry helped Kansas City return to the playoffs as AL West champions in 1984, leading the AL in saves while being selected to the All-Star team and winning the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award for the fourth time. Not to be outdone, Quisenberry continued to his run of dominance in the Royals’ bullpen in 1985, leading the AL in saves and winning his fourth straight AL Rolaids Relief Man Award. His accomplishments helped the team capture the 1985 AL West and AL pennants, winning the World Series for the first time. After his career, Quisenberry was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 1998.
Relief pitcher: Jeff Montgomery 1988-99
The Royals all-time leader in games pitched (686) and saves (304), Montgomery became a star reliever during his 12 seasons in Kansas City. He was named an All-Star for the first time in 1992 and during a career-best 1993 campaign was named an All-Star while leading the AL in saves and winning the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award. Montgomery was named an All-Star for the third time in 1996 before retiring after the 1999 season. Following his retirement, he was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame in 2003.
Others considered: John Mayberry, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Paul Splittorff