No. 50) Yordano Ventura, starting pitcher, 2013-16
No Kansas City Royals tribute will ever be complete without mention of Yordano Ventura. We watched our little brother throw fire at the big-league level for the first time on Sept. 17, 2013, against Cleveland. It was only three years later that we unknowingly watched him perform for the last time, also on a cool September evening at Kauffman Stadium, and also against Cleveland. His career 3.89 ERA is not was he is remembered for. Rather, it is his flair, his tenacity and his competitiveness that we all knew and adored.
Ventura never backed down and always had the backs of his teammates. The most notable example of this was Game 6 of the 2014 World Series. The Royals were facing elimination, and Ventura’s good friend and young standout Oscar Taveras had recently passed away. Ventura delivered to the tune of seven shutout innings with “OT” written on his cap.
No. 49) Danny Jackson, starting pitcher, 1983-87
Although his best year may have come as a Cincinnati Reds pitcher, Danny Jackson spent his first five major league seasons with the Royals. (Jackson was an All-Star and the Cy Young runner-up in 1988.) He held his own in those five seasons, sporting a 3.69 ERA over 119 appearances with the team.
His advanced statistics don’t necessarily jump off the page, but he was extremely reliable during the 1985 championship season and the following years. He went 2-1 in the 1985 postseason. Twice, the Kansas City Royals took the field facing a 3-1 series deficit that October; and twice, Jackson answered the call in Game 5.