The KC Royals were lucky to have George Brett for 21 seasons. What were the final few games of his career like?
George Brett’s timing, an essential element of his superb ability to hit a baseball, was, as usual, at best perfect and at worst very good when, on Sept. 25, 1993, he announced his retirement from the KC Royals.
You could see it coming, this bittersweet end to Brett’s marvelous 21-season career, one spent entirely with his Royals. No player was more responsible than Brett for the baseball renaissance the franchise worked in the city Charlie Finley abandoned because he believed it couldn’t support the game.
Yes, you really could tell it was time. Brett, a career .305 hitter who thrilled baseball with his pursuit of .400 in 1980, hit over .300 11 times and won batting titles in three different decades, had, in 1993, exceeded .300 only twice since his .335 paced the club to its first World Series title in 1985. He hadn’t hit 20 home runs since ’88. He no longer played third base, having moved primarily to first in 1987 to ease the strain of the hot corner, then to DH in ’91. And he was 40.
But realizing it was time for him to close out his career doesn’t mean Brett waited too long. He didn’t. He could still hit, still produce. Although he’d hit only .255, the lowest full-season average of his career, two seasons before, he’d sandwiched that conspicuously un-Brett-like campaign between a league-leading .325 in 1990 and .285 in ’92.
But you knew Brett wouldn’t hold on too long or allow himself to deteriorate into a dispiriting shell of himself. Retirement would come on his terms, timed his way.
So it was that on Sept. 25, he announced at Kauffman Stadium that the time had come. He would step away from the game after the Oct. 3 season finale at Texas.
Here are his last few games.