KC Royals: How Kowar’s debut stacks up against KC’s best

(Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Kevin Appier
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /

Kevin Appier’s major league debut with the KC Royals deserves mixed reviews.

Kevin Appier ranks fourth on Kansas City’s all-time pitching wins list with 115 victories. His first Royal outing, however, provided only a glimpse of the pitcher he eventually became.

Appier arrived in KC in 1989 with only two pro seasons under his belt and a short-sample minor league record of 17-11. Promising by virtue of his status as a first-round draft pick in 1987 and the 12 games he won in 1988, manager John Wathan gave the June 4 start against the Angels to Appier.

The rookie righthander allowed the Angels almost nothing through three innings, giving his hosts just two singles while striking out two. But he gave up three straight hits and walked in a run in the fourth to fall behind 2-0. After shutting down California in the fifth, Appier coughed up a two-run homer to Jack Howell in the sixth. Tom Gordon replaced him a batter later.

Appier’s line—four runs on eight hits, and four walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings—and his three scoreless innings weren’t horrible, but they were far from dominant.

Appier came tantalizingly close to an Opening Day no-hitter in 1995, and finished 115-92 with 3.49 ERA in 13 Royal campaigns. He added 54 victories to his resume over parts of five seasons with the A’s, Mets and Angels before wrapping up his career with the Royals in 2003-2004.