2004. Another sub-60 win season. Another year of heartache. In a season where He-who-must-not-be-named* was actually a starter. A starter! A starter with a winning record! He was 9-8, but he had an E.R.A. over five so it was clearly some laughable trick of the baseball gods. Zack Greinke was overwhelmingly the best starter with a 3.97 E.R.A., but was 8-11 which speaks to the lack of offensive prowess the ’04 Royals had.
*Again. This is how I will forever refer to James Gobble.
So the 2004 All-Star Game would seem to be another year where one had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a Royal worthy of being an All-Star. I thought that was the case. Especially when, if you recall, our All-Star was one Kenneth Eugene Harvey. I’ve never talked to anyone who hasn’t looked disgusted when talking about Ken Harvey being an All-Star. I’m sure the same look has graced my face when discussing it as well. But you know what? I think I may have overreacted.
The Royals were not a good baseball team in 2004. At the All-Star Break they were 15 and1/2 games back of first place. They were 31-54. You probably thought Mike Sweeney should have been our All-Star. His numbers weren’t bad. He had a slash line of .279/.335/.490/.825 with 16 home runs. I’d always assumed 2004 was a year where Sweeney was hurt and that’s why Harvey got the nod. But Sweeney played in 75 games that first half of the season. I can’t remember if he was injured around the All-Star Break or not.
Harvey was actually pretty hot during that season. Especially early. At the break, he had a line of .305/.353/.452/.805 with 10 home runs. That’s not exactly as many home runs as you expect out of your 1B/DH, but it wasn’t bad for the Royals. I actually think he deserved the invite. Nobody else on the team was hitting .300 or had a higher O.B.P. Grienke was 1-6 through the first half and wins and losses probably were more glaring back in 2004, despite the fact that he had an E.R.A. of 3.86.
You know what the real tragedy is? Jason Giambi got voted in as the starting American League first baseman that year. Wanna know his slash? .241/.377/.439/816 with 11 homers. Not repulsive, especially with such a high O.B.P., but hardly All-Star-worthy. Particularly a starting berth.
The other 1B/DH on the A.L. team was David Ortiz who had a line of .304/.354/.600/.954 with 23 bombs at the break. I’d say he deserved a spot. Giambi? Not so much.
So after finding out that Harvey had a decent first half and that Giambi may have gotten the starting berth based on the fact that there are a LOT of Yankees fans who probably voted for him, I’ve decided that I’m finally at peace with Harvey being our ’04 All-Star.
So maybe it’s too little too late, but I’m at peace now.
I’m sure you were worried about it, Ken.