When Salvador Perez slammed the first pitch he saw from Cleveland’s Zach Plesac out of the park Sept. 29, the three-run, first-inning blast did more than give the KC Royals almost all they needed for an easy 10-5 victory. It tied Jorge Soler’s single-season club home run record and heightened expectations that he’d break the mark set just two years before.
Unfortunately, Perez didn’t hit another homer. Soler’s record stands, awaiting further challenge.
But what of other Kansas City records? Will any team or individual season or career marks be broken? Certainly, although at least six seem safe.
This KC Royals speedster’s career stolen base record will never be broken.
Kansas City covets speed and always has. Kauffman Stadiums spacious outfield requires it and the club demands it on the basepaths. The commodity is as much a part of the Royals as anything.
Today, the club relies primarily on Whit Merrifield, stealer of an American League best 40 bases last season and leader of the majors in swipes with 45 in 2018, Nicky Lopez and, when healthy, Adalberto Mondesi to wreak havoc when they get on base. But even Merrifield, who has 159 career steals—most of any current Royal—won’t come close to breaking Willie Wilson’s KC career record of 612. (Amos Otis ranks second with 340).
Wilson broke in with the Royals in 1976 and became a regular two seasons later. He led the majors in steals with 83 in ’79 and, from that season until 1990, his last year in Kansas City, averaged 46.5 per campaign.
Wilson, a member of the club’s Hall of Fame, played 15 years in Kansas City and hit .289 with a .329 OBP. He made the All-Star team twice and won two Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove.