KC Royals Rewind: The final games of George Brett

(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, George Brett
(Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals played six games after George Brett’s last home run beat California. Home fans said their last goodbye before the club embarked on Brett’s final road trip.

George Brett’s 10th-inning walk-off homer against the Angels was still the talk of the town when the Royals faced Cleveland the next evening to begin their final homestand of the season. With his club behind 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Brett had another shot at heroics.

It had been a tough night for him—he was 0-for-4 when, with a chance to tie or win the game, he stepped in against Jerry Dipoto with runners at first and second. But DiPoto got Brett out on a fly to center. Fortunately, Mike Macfarlane singled next to tie the game and Dipoto hit Gary Gaetti with the bases loaded to give the KC Royals their second straight walk-off.

Brett was almost as quiet the next night, his next-to-last home game, going 1-for-4 as the club lost to Cleveland 3-2. But manager Hal McRae gave the 19,000-plus fans and his old teammate their moment—after Brett singled off Jason Grimsley in the eighth, McRae sent Phil Hiatt in to pinch run and Brett left the field to a standing ovation.

The final home contest for the favorite Royal came the next night, a somewhat chilly Wednesday evening that was anything but the typical midweek night game—36,999 fans (this writer among them) packed Kauffman to see Brett one last time. The 3-2 KC win was nice, but it was the eighth inning and postgame fans remember most.

With the Royals down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Brent Mayne followed Craig Wilson‘s leadoff groundout with a double and scored when Kevin Koslofski‘s single and an error allowed Koslofski to take second. Brian McRae struck out, leaving Brett with one last opportunity to thrill the Kansas City fans.

Brett, of course, came through, drilling a first-pitch, game-tying single to center. Bob Hamelin walked; Brett trotted to second, then came off the field to a thundering ovation when, just as he had the night before, McRae sent in Hiatt to run for him.

Kansas City won it the next inning when Koslofski singled home Felix Jose for the club’s 82nd victory and a winning season.

And then, George Brett took a final Kauffman Stadium curtain call. Against a backdrop of fireworks, the theme from The Natural, and a packed house, he circled the field on a golf cart, knelt to kiss home plate, waved his last goodbye, and disappeared into the dugout.

The KC Royals were off the next day but headed to Texas for the last three games of the season and the last Brett would ever play. The teams split the first two games; Brett went 0-for-4 in each.

It was time.