2. Mike Sweeney (1995-2007, 20.0 WAR)
At a time when every other teammate he had left in free agency, Mike Sweeney was the one who remained. Trapped on some truly horrendous Kansas City Royals teams, he remained loyal to the team, hoping to be a part of the postseason in Kansas City. Unfortunately, that never was to happen while he was a player.
Sweeney, as the best player on those teams, finds himself in the interesting position of being the face of the Royals in that era. While it earned him five All-Star appearances and even allowed Sweeney to garner a few MVP votes, Sweeney may not have been as appreciated as he should be. Years of losing can certainly cause apathy in a fan base, and some of the feelings towards Sweeney may reflect that.
If so, that is truly unfortunate. Sweeney was a very good player on those really bad Royals teams, producing a .299/.369/.492 batting line. Sweeney ranks second all time in Royals history with his 197 home runs and in the top five in OPS, RBI, doubles and walks. Sweeney was not just one of the best first basemen in Royals history – he was one of their best players of all time.
Perhaps some day, Mike Sweeney will get the due that he deserves. He was certainly one of the better players in Royals history, and may be a lot better than we remembered.
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