Plenty of big-name stars will forever be remembered for being KC Royals. There’s Hall of Famer George Brett, of, course, but also Frank White, Amos Otis, Bret Saberhagen and Carlos Beltran, just to name a few.
But there are other stars many may forget donned Royal Blue for a short time.
For example, did you know 13-time All-Star, six-time American League home run leader and 1969 American League MVP Harmon Killebrew played for the Royals in 1975 after getting released by the Twins?
By the time he came to Kansas City, Killebrew’s bat wasn’t the same—he slashed .199/.317/.375 with a .692 OPS and 44 RBIs in 106 games. Despite his low average, Killebrew still had some pop, smashing 14 home runs his lone year with the Royals.
Another player who spent his last year in Kansas City was Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry.
After Perry went 3-10 with a 4.94 ERA in 102 innings in 1983 with Seattle, the Mariners released him and the Royals signed him. During his short stay in Kansas City, Perry posted a 4-4, 4.27 ERA record and became the third pitcher in major league history to record 3, 500 strikeouts.
What’s also interesting was Perry’s involvement in the Pine Tar incident. After Brett and the Royals were arguing Brett’s ejection for having too much pine tar on his bat, Perry took off with the bat before being caught by security. Perry was also ejected.
Another terrific star gave his career one last shot with the KC Royals.
Hideo Nomo was a big sensation from Japan. He was an All-Star and Rookie of the Year winner with the Dodgers in 1995 who was known for strikeouts. His 236 strikeouts in 1995 led all National League pitchers and was second in the majors behind Randy Johnson. He also posted a 11.1 K/9 rate to break Sandy Koufax’s 1962 franchise record.
Nomo soon struggled when he bounced around multiple teams before returning to the Dodgers in 2002.
His last season was supposedly 2005 with the Devil Rays, when he went 5-8 with a 7.24 ERA and only 59 strikeouts in 100.2 innings. But three years later, Nomo decided to return and signed on with the Royals.
Nomo ended up pitching only 4.1 innings with Kansas City. He surrendered nine runs on 10 hits (three were homers) and was soon DFA’d.
That July, Nomo announced his retirement from baseball.