Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Relief Pitcher – Doug Bird
The Kansas City Royals tradition of solid, if not excellent, closers had to begin somewhere. As it turns out, the seeds for the Royals ability to generate superlative closers may have begun with a pitcher who has been relegated to relative obscurity these days in Doug Bird.
Bird not only served as a closer for the Royals, but he also made the occasional spot start and was put in the rotation for the majority of the 1976 season. This ability to slide between different roles without missing a beat made him a truly valuable commodity during his time in Kansas City.
Overall, Bird’s numbers may not seem overly impressive. He posted a 49-36 record with 58 saves, posting a 3.56 ERA and a 1.245 WHiP. Another in what became a long line of control artists, Bird struck out 464 batters while issuing only 188 walks in 714.1 innings of work. Bird also, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, ranks fourth all time amongst Royals relievers with a 9.1 WAR.
A pitcher that could fill any role he was required to, Doug Bird was a solid pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. He certainly deserves to be recognized for his production and his place in team history.
Next: Those who fell just short