The KC Royals and Home Run Derby through the years

(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Bo Jackson
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, which pits stellar players from the American and National Leagues against each other, has been an annual tradition since 1933. In addition to the All-Star match, there are other festivities fans are always eager to watch, including the Home Run Derby, which began in 1985. The Derby features prolific power hitters in the game competing with one another, and though the KC Royals aren’t known to be a power-hitting team, Salvador Perez will participate in this year’s event.

Perez will also be the AL’s starting catcher July 13 after locking up the role by beating out Martin Maldonado and Yasmani Grandal with 62% of the final vote. 

Perez is definitely deserving of his seventh All-Star selection and first spot in the Derby, slashing .284/.311/.521 with a .832 OPS so far this season. He has 49 RBIS and has smashed 20 home runs to earn his Derby nod.

Perez’s Derby selection makes him the fourth KC Royal in history to participate. But what of the other three Royals who made it into the Derby? How did they fare in the competition? Let’s go through the years and the numbers and see how they performed.

Bo Jackson was the KC Royals’ first participant in 1989, then won the ASG MVP.

Bo Jackson was an absolute phenom who hit for major power in the few years he played in the major leagues. During his four-year stint with the KC Royals, Jackson smashed 109 homers with 313 RBIs. He had 141 total home runs in his career.

Jackson was chosen to participate in the fourth annual Home Run Derby in 1989, having hit 21 home runs by the All-Star Break. He finished the 1989 season knocking 32 total homers for Kansas City.

But Jackson only managed to hit one homer in the Derby. The reason? From 1985-1990, the Home Run Derby allowed each player to have two chances to bat with five outs per chance, with balls not hit for home runs deemed outs.

There is little doubt that, if able to hit in today’s bracket-style format, Jackson might have been able to muster up more than one home run. But that didn’t matter—during the All-Star Game, Jackson led off with a 450-foot homer, which helped him win the contest’s Most Valuable Player award for leading the AL to a 5-3 victory over the NL.