The man with a handlebar mustache suffered a knee injury that cost him almost two full seasons. He battled back to go on one last ride with the KC Royals.
Dennis Leonard was drafted in 1972 and had a cup of coffee with Kansas City in 1974. He then went on a nine-year run that included no losing records and double-digit wins except for the season he was injured that left him with a 6-3 record in 1983 and robbed him of at least ten wins that year.
Despite winning 20 games three times within a four-year span, Leonard only finished as high as fourth in Cy Young voting and the top ten twice. He took the mound early and often leading the league in games started three times and finished with 302 starts in his Royals career.
From 1975-1980, Leonard averaged almost 18 wins per season. During that time he tossed 86 complete games and 19 shutouts.
After the aforementioned knee problem, Leonard went out in 1986 starting 30 games and tossing an additional five complete games and two shutouts. Not bad for a 35-year old on a bad leg.
Had he not been hurt, Leonard could be first in wins instead of second. If you had not figured it out yet, he does lead the team in complete games and shutouts. He also is in the top ten in WAR, win-loss percentage, WHIP, innings pitched, strikeouts and games started. A Royal his entire career, he was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1989.