Kansas City Royals Countdown: Top 10 Individual Offensive Seasons
No. 6) Willie Wilson 1980
Despite never driving in 50 runs in a season, Wilson is one of the greatest Kansas City Royals players of all-time. The outfielder’s game was based on speed and few were faster than Wilson. He led the league in steals with 83 in 1979, but it was his 1980 campaign that ranks among the best in franchise history.
He failed to swipe the most bases that season with his steal numbers dropping all the way to 79. However, Wilson led the league in plenty of other categories as the Royals leadoff man. His plate appearances (745), at-bats (705), runs scored (133), hits (230) and triples (15) all placed first. His hits are the most a Royals player has had in a season, while his runs scored rank second in the franchise’s single-season standings.
Not only did he prove productive at scoring runs, but Wilson — by his standards — excelled at driving them in. He matched his career-high with 49 RBI that year. Wilson slashed .326/.357/.421 to earn his first of two Silver Slugger awards. His defense also earned a Gold Glove in 1980 — the only one he would ever win. All told, Wilson’s incredible season, which culminated in the Royals’ first World Series appearance, led to him finishing fourth in MVP voting. Pretty good for someone with just three home runs.
Wilson, who was a first-round draft pick in 1974, remained with the Kansas City Royals through his age-34 season. After that, he played two years each for the A’s and Cubs. But Wilson will always be remembered as a Royal.