While fans may remember him for a multitude of reasons, this KC Royals designated hitter and first baseman provided a consistent bat for many years.
In thinking back about players who had an impact on the KC Royals and their fans, there are plenty of names that may come to mind. Many players are likely from years ago, though some may be more recent. For this flashback, we are taking a look at a player that is more recent and helped the Royals on the road to the World Series, Billy Butler.
Butler played the majority of his 10-year career with the Royals, who drafted him in the 2004 amateur draft out of Wolfson High School in Jacksonville, Florida. From 2004 to 2006 Butler bashed his way through the minors, consistently batting over .300 while showing his power.
In 2007, he got his first taste of the majors. While he did see 57 games at AAA Omaha, he spent 92 in the majors where he slashed .292/.347/.447, adding 8 home runs, 23 doubles, and 52 RBI’s, seeing most of his time as the designated hitter.
In 2008, he started the season in Kansas City, but spent some time back in Omaha. Luckily, he was able to work his way back to the majors and secure his spot for 2009. In 2009, Butler started playing primarily first base and put together an outstanding season.
Butler slashed .301/.362/.492, adding 93 RBI’s, 21 home runs, and 51 doubles. In 2010, he followed up with another great hitting season, though his home runs faltered a bit, slashing .318/.388/.469 with 78 RBI’s, 15 home runs, and 45 doubles.
In 2011, Butler started to move towards sitting primarily in the DH spot. He saw a bit of a dip in his batting average, but still slashed a good .291/.361/.461, adding 19 home runs and 44 doubles.
Luckily, in 2012, Butler saw a resurngacne in his batting and had one of his best years. He slahsed .313/.373/.510 recording 107 RBI’s, 29 home runs, and 32 doubles. In this year Butler also saw his only All-Star game and won the Silver Slugger award.
After the 2012 season, Butler still managed to put up decent numbers, but he was unable to find the production from years prior. In 2013 he slashed .289/.374/.412 adding only 15 home runs and 27 doubles, while in 2013 he dropped even more, slashing .271/.323/.379 with only 9 home runs and 32 doubles.
After the 2014 season, Butler was granted free agency and he left the Royals, signing a contract with Oakland. Butler struggled during the 2015 season and saw his numbers drop even further. He saw a bit of resurgence in 2016, but was released by Oakland towards the end of the season and saw a few games with the Yankees. Butler was granted free agency at the end of the season and put away his glove.
While he may not have a hoard of awards or appearances tied to his name, there is no doubt that Billy Butler was a big part of the Royals during his time in Kansas City. He helped bring the team from nothing to the postseason with his consistent batting and power.
In looking at team career records, Butler can be found in the top 10 for batting average, games played, at-bats, plate appearances, hits, total bases, doubles, home runs, RBI’s, singles, extra-base hits, and likely a few more.
Butler was a needed veteran presence on the young team when making their way before reaching the postseason, and he helped get them to the World Series in 2014. “Country Breakfast” holds a place in many Royals fan’s hearts and always helps to remind them why they stay Forever Royal.