As Royals fans, we all know who wore the most famous numbers in franchise history.
5, 10, 20 – the three retired numbers that were on the field when this team was at its best in the late 70’s & early 80’s. Without those three numbers, and the individuals who wore them, we wouldn’t even have 1985 to lean on.
But what about the other numbers? While I admit that I love the crisp pattern of the three current retirees’ numbers, are there others that might be deserving? With the recent passing of Paul Splittorff (who wore #25 for his first two years before switching to #34), and the retirement of Mike Sweeney (#29), there was some discussion of adding a number or two to the 5, 10, and 20 (ok fine – and 42) that hang on the façade of the Royals Hall of Fame.
I recently got my hands on a Royals All-Time Numerical Roster, which, as a uniform junkie, immediately captured my attention. Now I could finally figure out what number Jeff Reboulet wore during the 2000 season (it was 12).
Now, I’m not trying to campaign for anyone to be added to the list of retired numbers – I like the fact that the Royals have been stingy when it comes to that honor. I wanted to figure out the best Royal to wear every number – and some of the guys that you may have forgotten about.
The number was worn by only one player in Royals history – for one season – for just 44 games. George Scott was traded from the Boston Red Sox on June 13, 1979, and was released in August.
Prior to coming to Kansas City, Scott put together quite a career. He was a three-time All Star and won eight gold glove awards, including six in a row from ’71-’76. He was among the league leaders in several categories year after year, but by the time he stepped foot into the home clubhouse at Royals Stadium, he was in the twilight of his career.
He started 38 of those games at first base for the Royals in 1979, sharing time with regular first baseman Pete LaCock. In 146 AB, he hit a paltry .267 with just one home run. On a team that would finish 85-77, he was a role player that wasn’t quite good enough to stick around.
Scott retired at the end of the 1979 season after finishing the year with the Yankees. He singled in his last at-bat. He found his name on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in 1985 & 1986 and received a total of one vote.
In general, it is odd to see the #0 worn on the baseball field. While I liked Oddibe McDowell in the big zero, probably the best player to don the number was Al Oliver. Oliver switched to the number in 1978, after he was traded to the Texas Rangers. He was a seven-time All-Star, had 2,743 hits, and hit .303 in his 18 year career. And seriously, how awesome is he in this Expos uniform?