There aren’t many players who have the honor of wearing the “C” patch on their uniforms. Mike Sweeney was one of those few, and The Captain is now set to be enshrined in the Royals Hall of Fame. Sweeney, who spent 13 seasons in a Royals uniform, was named Captain in 2003 and held that position until his departure from Kansas City in 2008.
However, before he became an Oakland A in 2008, Sweeney had already established himself as one of the Royals all-time greatest players, finding himself near the top of nearly every major hitting category.
His .299 batting average, 197 home runs, and .492 slugging percentage all trail only Hall of Famer George Brett for the Royals all time lead. He was also a top five Royal in terms of hits, doubles, RBI’s, at bats, and games played. Had his career not been ravaged with injuries, he could have made an even larger dent in Brett’s choke hold on the Royals hitting records.
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Due to these injuries, Sweeney only enjoyed a three-year window of health, from 1999-2001, in which he played more than 147 games in each of those three seasons. He never played more than 126 in any other season. During those three seasons, however, he produced a .320/.390/.528 slash line, good for a .918 OPS, while hitting 80 home runs and driving in 345 runs.
Sandwiched in the middle of that window was his 2000 campaign, in which he hit .344 with 29 homers and 144 RBI’s, breaking Hal McRae‘s Royal record of 133 way back in 1982. One could argue that he was even better in 2002, hitting .340 alongside 21 homers and posting a career best 151 wRC+ that shattered his previous career best of 129 in 2000, but he only played 126 games that season.
Despite the gaudy numbers, Sweeney played during the darkest of the dark hours in Kansas City and never saw postseason play as a Royal. He did, however, find his way into the postseason as a Phillie in 2010, singling to left field in his only postseason plate appearance.
Now a member of the Royals front office, Sweeney was also able to be a part of the Royals first trip to the postseason since 1985.
The induction ceremony will take place during a Royals home game this summer, though the date has yet to be determined.