Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Shortstop – Freddie Patek
It would be easy to overlook Freddie Patek. At 5’5″ and 148 pounds during his playing days, Patek looked more like a kid in junior high than a major league shortstop. Yet, that is exactly what Patek was, one of the pieces acquired to begin the foundation for the Kansas City Royals Golden Age in the mid 1970’s through the mid 1980’s.
Given his size, it is understandable that Patek had minimal power. In his 14 year career, Patek hit 41 home runs, with a single season high of six set in 1971. He was, however, great at hitting the ball into the gaps and using his speed, allowing him to hit 182 doubles and 41 triples while stealing 336 bases during his time in Kansas City.
Defensively, Patek had a solid glove. Despite typically being among the league leaders in errors, Patek still managed to save 19 runs during his time with the Royals. Patek also rated among the leaders in range factor at short, and from 1971 through 1974, lead the American League in double plays at the position.
These days, Freddie Patek may have never gotten a look as a legitimate baseball player. As small as he was, few teams would consider him worth their time. Perhaps it is fitting that Patek is the Kansas City Royals starting shortstop.
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