After spending 14 seasons in the National League, this ex-enemy of the KC Royals spent a year with Kauffman Stadium as his home.
One amazing statistic is that the year he was named the National League Most Valuable Player, Terry Pendleton was not selected to the All-Star Game. That was in 1991 when he was in the first of two consecutive seasons leading the NL in hits. He also led the league in average while smashing 22 dingers.
In 1992 he finished second in MVP voting but finally did make his only All-Star game. He also took home three Gold Gloves during his playing time.
Of course Royals fans remember him as playing for the cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals and being in the opposing dugout during the 1985 I-70 World Series.
At age 37, Pendelton finished his 15-year career with Kansas City. He played mostly at designated hitter with some third base sprinkled in. In 79 games he slashed .257/.299/.338 and it was apparent his offensive skills had left. He did spend many years with playoff teams playing on the Cardinals team through the mid to late ’80s and the early ’90s Atlanta Braves.
The “yips” derailed this star player’s career
Rookie of the Year, four All-Star selections, two Silver Slugger awards, and even a Gold Glove by age 28 would seem to put a player on a trajectory for the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately for Chuck Knoblauch, a move from the Twins to the New York Yankees signaled the beginning of the end.
Knoblauch could get on base and then move around quickly once there. While never leading the league, he had totals of 46, 45, and 62 stolen bases three years in a row plus seven other seasons of 28 or more. His best year was in 1996 while in Minnesota leading the league in triples and slashing .341/.448/.517.
Primarily a second baseman, he often was above the league average for that position in fielding percentage, even his first year in New York in 1998. The wheels fell off in ’99 though as he committed 26 errors and drop to 18 points below the league average. In half a season in 2000, booted another 15 balls and dropped to .958 fld%.
The Yankees move him moved him to left-field/DH role in 2001 and he did improve greatly. That is also where he finished up his career with the Royals in 2002.
You wonder if the focus on his defense started tearing away at his performance at the plate. A career .289 hitter with an on-base percentage of .378, in 80 games with the KC Royals he produced .210 and .284 marks for those stats.
The speed was still there with 19 swipes but at age 33 his career was sadly over. He fell just 161 hits short of 2,000 and a career WAR of 44.6 in 12 seasons is an awfully good number. Many fans will remember him for the way he dovetailed at the end but Knoblauch was a dang good ballplayer for many years.
There are some of the good players who finished up with one season in Kansas City. While not seeing the players in the prime years, Royals’ fans were still able to say this star was part of our team for a season.