Stars you may have forgotten were once KC Royals

(Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brad White/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /

Three MVP’s and a Rookie of the Year also once played with the KC Royals.

Kirk Gibson will always be known for his dramatic, game-winning pinch-hit home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series:

Gibson, well-known for his 1988 MVP, Silver Slugger season with the Dodgers and the 12 years he spent with the Tigers, was also with Kansas City for a year.

In 1991, Gibson signed on with the Royals as a free agent. He played 132 games that year, and slashed .236/.341/.403 with a .744 OPS and 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases.

While Gibson was with Kansas City, Terry Pendleton won the National League MVP with Atlanta. He slashed .319/.363/.517 with 22 home runs and 88 RBIs. Little did he know that several years later, he, too, would don Royal Blue.

Pendleton came to Kansas City in 1998 when the club was seeking veteran leadership for a young core of players. Although he backed up Dean Palmer the majority of the year, Pendleton ended up playing in 79 games, slashing .257/.299/.338 with a .637 OPS with three home runs and 29 RBIs. He retired after the season.

In 2004, two-time MVP Juan González arrived in Kansas City. Known for his time with the Rangers when he hit .293 with 372 home runs in13 years, he signed with the Royals for a year but ended up playing only 33 games due to injury. He hit .276 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.

After the Royals declined to pick up his option, González went to Cleveland, but a hamstring injury during his very first plate appearance of 2005 ended his season.

Another star who arrived in 2004 was five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger and 1987 National League Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago.

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Santiago slashed .274/.312/.434 with  six home runs and 23 RBIs before a fractured hand derailed his season in June. It was a huge blow—Santiago was putting on a clinic in June, hitting .364 with two home runs and nine RBIs before the injury. After the season, the Royals traded him to Pittsburgh for minor league pitcher Leo Nuñez, later known as Juan Carlos Oviedo. Santiago did not appear in another major league game after his 23 at-bat stint with the Pirates in 2005.

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The Royals have had many stars in their history, among them some who fans may forget spent time in Kansas City.