The KC Royals have had many great players in their 48 years of existence. Which five players have had the greatest impact on franchise history?
In this article, I’m not concerned with who are the greatest players in Kansas City Royals history. Instead, I’m looking for five guys that impacted not only their teammates, but the entire history of the franchise. What I’m interested in is both what players made the KC Royals who they are today, but also players who impacted the sport of baseball.
In short, who are the five players that you can’t really tell the history of the Kansas City Royals without including their story?
Before we begin, I’d like to give a shout out to my Twitter follower Krystal @kryslynmo who is both a big KC Royals fan and also gave me the idea for this piece by asking readers of her Twitter feed to name the five most influential players in baseball history.
I’d also like to issue some apologies to some great players who did NOT make my list.
Who are the five players that you can’t really tell the history of the Kansas City Royals without including their story?
Probably the most painful oversight was Frank White. He defined defense for the Golden Era Royals from the team’s first division winner in 1976 through their World Series title in 1985. In that span, White collected seven gold gloves (with an eighth coming in 1987) and progressing from a no.9 hitter to becoming the first second baseman to hit cleanup in the World Series in 1985.
Frank White is one of three members of the Kansas City Royals fraternity to have his number (20) retired by the club, along with team icon George Brett and former manager Dick Hoswer.
Other KC Royals greats who didn’t make the cut include two-time Cy Young winner and 1985 World Series MVP Bret Saberhagen, submarine-style closer Dan Quisenberry, a pair of players with marginal Hall-of-Fame cases in Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon, and the most unheralded great starting pitcher in club history: Kevin Appier.
I also excluded current players like Eric Hosmer and Wade Davis, because the long-term impact of their contributions is hard to measure at this time. All of the above players enjoyed great Kansas City Royals careers, but did not affect the franchise like the five players that follow:
Next: The Mid-Season Pickup That Changed Royals History