5. John Wathan (1976-1985, 5.5 WAR)
Not only did Wathan have a ten year career as a catcher with the Kansas City Royals, but he remained with the team after his retirement. Serving as a coach, manager, broadcaster, scout, and currently, as a special assistant to General Manager Dayton Moore. For all the notoriety George Brett has received due to his loyalty to the Royals, John Wathan is not far behind.
As a catcher, Wathan was something of a rarity – a catcher who could had legitimate speed and could steal bases. During his career, Wathan posted a .262/.318/.343 batting line with 21 home runs and 105 stolen bases. In 1980, one of only four years that Wathan was truly the Royals starting catcher, he posted a .305/.377/.406 batting line with six home runs and 17 steals, earning him his only MVP vote. In 1982, Wathan stole 36 bases, and was caught only nine times.
Defensively, John Wathan was primarily a catcher, but he played at first and both corner outfield positions. Behind the plate, he was not exactly special, but Wathan had his moments. In 1985, his final season, Wathan ranked third with a 43.2% caught stealing rate and fifth with four total zone runs saved.
Wathan’s last moments as a professional player came when the Royals won their only World Series title. He struck out in his only at bat, but was involved as a pinch runner in that amazing comeback in Game Six. As far as final moments go, being a part of that inning had to be special.
John Wathan is a true Royal. His service to the Kansas City Royals got him the tiebreaker.