Crown Gems: Bret Saberhagen, Johnny Damon, Billy Butler, and More


In this edition of Crown Gems; Royals 20-game winners and 200 hits seasons, Billy Butler, personal records, more on Dayton Moore, and an overdue recap of Thursday night’s KC Hamfighters softball game.

  • The Hardball Times had an interesting post regarding the Longest franchise droughts without a 20-game winner.  As author Chris Jaffe points out, this year will be the 20th straight season that a Royals’ pitcher fails to win 20 games in a season.  In team history a pitcher has won 20 or more wins in a season just 8 times.  The last pitcher to do it for the Royals was Bret Saberhagen in 1989.  Only three times has a KC pitcher recorded more than 20 wins.  Dennis Leonard won 21 games in 1978, Steve Busby won 22 games in 1974, and Saberhagen set the single season Royals record with 23 victories in the previously mentioned ’89 season.
  • Just yesterday The Hardball Times did another interesting post regarding the Last 200 hit performance for all franchises.  Chris Jaffe correctly points out that the last Royals’ player to collect 200 hits in a season was Johnny Damon who had 214 hits in 2000.  However Damon wasn’t alone that season.  Mike Sweeney racked up 206 hits that season.  Considering the Royals have had just six 200+ hits seasons in their history, it is not surprising that 2000 was the only time 2 Royals have reached the milestone in the same season.  Willie Wilson holds the franchise record with 230 hits in 1980 and is followed by; George Brett who had 215 in 1976, Damon’s 2000 season ranks 3rd, George Brett had 212 in 1979, Kevin Seitzer had 207 in 1987, Sweeney’s 2000 season was the 6th.  Billy Butler now has 137 hits through 122 games which puts him on pace to finish the 2009 season with 181.9.  He’s really been raking lately so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and call it 182.
  • Billy Butler is a story unto himself as he continues to chase Hal McRae’s 1977 season.  As I have mentioned several times before, McRae set the Royals’ single season record for doubles that year with 54.  After tonight Billy has 41 doubles through 122 games which puts him on pace to hit 54.4 this season.
  • Also of note, Butler has an OPS+ of 121 on the year and an OPS+ of 151 so far in the second half.  Brayan Pena leads the team with an OPS+ of 130 and Alberto Callaspo has dropped to 105.  David DeJesus just recently pushed his OPS+ to 100 and Mark Teahen was up to 99 prior to tonight’s game.
  • For more on other Kansas City Royals who are chasing records this season, check out Something left to cheer about over on Royals Review.  Those of you who read my site frequently know that I have been on the doubles thing for months.  You also know that I recently covered the seasons of Bloomquist and DeJesus, but there is plenty of other good stuff to check out, especially when it comes to Mitch Maier.
  • After I wrote my article about Dayton Moore and Andy MacPhail yesterday, I came across this.  Clearly I’m off the Dayton Moore bandwagon, but I surely don’t think he is an idiot.  All in all, I also wouldn’t classify him as a “horrible” GM just yet.  His actions and statements this year paint him as delusional and perhaps a touch insane, but he’s only been on the job for about 3 years.  Since 2006 was the ghost draft, Moore has only presided over 3 Royals drafts.  While Moustakas and Hosmer have not lived up to expectations this season, his draft classes have already fared better than those of Allard Baird and there is far more talent in the organization.  I recognize that money and actually drafting based on talent have a lot to do with this, but I think DM has a lot to do with the additional resources being available.  Granted, Dayton Moore’s brief tenure has not been filled with success, but I think calling him an “idiot” or a “horrible” GM at this point is a little premature.  There are now several red flags and he is trending in the wrong direction, but I’m not writing him off completely until I see what he does to the roster in preparation for the 2010 season.
  • Finally, I neglected to provide an update on the result of the co-ed KC Hamfighters game on Thursday.  For the several dozen people who care, this part is for you.  Due to an offensive “explosion” the Hamfighters won the game 12-10 and now stand at 2-2 on the season.  After the game there was some discussion regarding our record, but since the team we were playing was 0-3 it stands to reason that we were 1-2 before the victory.  Sparked by yours truly batting leadoff, we jumped out to an early lead and pushed it to 9-2 before our bats went silent for a few innings.  I tip my cap to the opposing team for their understanding and comprehension of the term “recreational” softball.  Both teams went to the plate swinging like Angel Berroa and the game was good clean fun with a fair amount of drama at the end.  I name myself player of the game for my 3-4 performance and nearly flawless outfield defense which included an assist at 3B early in the game.  Take that Scott!  Unlike Coco Crisp and other outfielders that play for our beloved Royals, I can actually hit the cut-off man.  Well, most of the time anyway.

Tomorrow I hope to post the second installment of Early Returns:  Royals 2009 Draft Picks.

Thanks for the read, have a great Sunday, and feel free to subscribe to the Kings of Kauffman feed by clicking here.