Oct 22, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals former player George Brett throws out the ceremonial first pitch before game two of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
What Kansas City Royals fan hasn’t heard of George Brett? Even if you were born after he retired in 1993, his legend looms over the entire franchise 22 years after he called it quits.
His name is all over the Kansas City Royals record book. Most home runs in franchise history with 305, most hits with 3154, most RBI’s with 1596. George Brett has the highest single season batting average in club history when he made his famous run at .400 in 1980 (finishing at .390).
George Brett was named to 13 straight AL All-Star teams between 1976-88. He won three batting titles (the only player in MLB history to do so in three different decades), three silver sluggers, one gold glove, and one AL MVP. His career numbers are an overwhelming .305/.369/.487 with 3154 hits, 317 home runs, and an OPS+ of 135 (35% above league average).
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All of that doesn’t even begin to tell the tale, because Brett made his reputation with playoff heroics. In nine playoff series spread over seven seasons, Brett slashed an astounding .337/.397/.627 for an outrageous OPS of 1.023 against stiff, post-season competition.
He hit three home runs on one playoff game against the Yankees in 1978. He slammed a three-run home run to pull the Royals in an 8th inning tie in deciding Game 5 of the 1976 ALCS against New York. George Brett willed his team to victory in Game 3 of the 1985 ALCS against Toronto with two home runs, one double, while going 4-4 with a game-saving defensive play at third base. Then there’s the Pine Tar game that is a baseball legend (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it and watch the video. You’ll thank me).
Brett debuted with the KC Royals in 1973 as a 20-year-old, and retired in 1993 as a 40-year-old. In those 21 seasons, he defined Kansas City baseball.
His statue sits in front of Kauffman Stadium. Need I really say any more?