Ned Yost is one of two managers in Kansas City Royals history to win a World Series. Should he join Dick Howser in having his number retired?
Having your jersey number retired by the Kansas City Royals is a very prestigious honor. In fact, only four players/managers have ever been on the receiving end of that distinction. Following the end of a 10-year run with the team, it’s time to decide whether or not Ned Yost should join that list.
The short answer to this question is an emphatic yes. Whether you liked Yost or not, he collected more wins than any manager in Royals history and brought a championship back to Kansas City for the first time in 30 years. He was the definition of a players’ skipper, and no manager’s players took the field with more passion and love for the game than Yost’s. This was a direct reflection of the guy calling the shots in the clubhouse.
The closest comparison to Yost that one can draw when thinking about historic Kansas City Royals managers is Dick Howser. After his playing career with multiple teams (including the Kansas City Athletics) wrapped up, he managed the club from 1981-1986. Winning three division titles and a World Series during his tenure, Howser saw his number retired in 1987. He ranks third all-time in wins among Royals managers.
By the above logic, Yost is a shoo-in to have his No. 3 retired by the team. First and foremost, he’s the longest-tenured skipper in club history and won close to twice as many games as the next-closest Royals manager, Whitey Herzog. On top of that, Yost led the team to back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015. Oh yeah, that 2015 season was capped off with a World Series victory over the New York Mets, too.
Of course, as with anything in this world, there’s a case against Yost’s jersey being retired. Albeit, not a very convincing one. Skeptics will point to the 64-year-old’s sub-0.500 record during his time with the Kansas City Royals. On the other hand, that record could, in turn, be used to support one of the main arguments for the affirmative side: Ned Yost weathered the storm.
When Yost took over in the midst of an already horrible 2010 season, things were in shambles. The team was at least three years away from being a contender. Both Yost and the Royals’ front office knew that. That ship was going to take a while to right.
Once the mist of champagne bottles being popped off as a result of the 2014 and 2015 seasons faded away, Yost remained right here. After two of his best players left town, Yost stayed. When it was painfully obvious that things were headed south for 2018 and 2019, Yost withstood massive amounts of criticism in an effort to buy his successor some time, then retired in typical Ned Yost fashion by announcing it during the team’s final days of the season.
Throw the record out the window. Put your biases aside. Once steps one and two are completed, it’s not hard to pick the right side. Ned Yost, flaws included, was one of the greatest managers in the history of the Kansas City Royals. To some, he might be the greatest. The franchise should — and probably will — recognize that at some point down the road.