4. Ed Kirkpatrick (1969-1973, 9.2 WAR)
The fact that Ed Kirkpatrick made this list can cut two ways. First, it is impressive, as he only played 278 games at catcher for the Kansas City Royals in his five seasons with the team. Second, it may be a testament to how much Royals catchers have struggled throughout team history.
Offensively, Kirkpatrick was not going to be confused with the great hitters of the time, although he was actually above league average with the Royals. His .248/.334/.390 batting line may not seem impressive, but he had a 105 OPS+ during his time in Kansas City. With his 56 home runs and solid on base skills, Kirkpatrick could at least hold his own at the plate.
Defensively, Ed Kirkpatrick was essentially league average behind the plate. While he struggled initially, leading the American league in errors in 1970 in his first season as a primary catcher and allowing the fourth most stolen bases, Kirkpatrick went on to become a solid defensive presence, throwing out 45% of would be base stealers in 1971 and finishing third in fielding percentage in 1972.
Kirkpatrick may not have been spectacular, but he was an all around steady player for the Royals, someone who could provide slightly better than league average production. For the expansion Kansas City Royals, that was plenty.
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