Nov 3, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view as Kansas City Royals fans celebrate the team
Big Willie Aikens arrived in Kansas City at age 25 after a 1980 trade with the California Angels. The team had parted ways with long-time first baseman John Mayberry three years before and needed to add a thumper to the lineup.
And, boy, did Wille Mays Aikens deliver.
More from KC Royals All-Time Lists
- KC Royals: Some interesting uniform number facts
- KC Royals: The Top 5 Kansas City speedsters, Part 2
- KC Royals: Top 5 Kansas City speedsters, Part 1
- KC Royals: Ranking the club’s 4 Rookies of the Year
- KC Royals: Dayton Moore’s top first round draft picks
Aikens hit .278/.356/.433 with 20 home runs and 98 RBI’s as Kansas City’s cleanup hitter on a team that lost the 1980 World Series to the Phillies. He became the first player to hit two home runs in two different World Series games.
Aikens hit for a .282/.362/.469 career slash line with the KC Royals and slamming 77 home runs despite struggling with a stutter that made interviews painful. He hit .302 in 1983 with a .912 OPS, good for an excellent 149 OPS+ (49% better than league average). Aikens got caught in a federal cocaine use in baseball inquiry after the 1983 season.
Willie Aikens turned out to have a serious addiction problem and only managed to play two more big league seasons. He has, however, returned to the game in 2011 as a minor league coach at the Kansas City Royals complex in Surprise, Arizona.
Next: The Man Who Pushed George Brett Off Third Base