Whether you’ve been to a KC Royals game live at Kauffman Stadium or you’ve just seen some on television or in photos, you’ve probably noticed the Numbers 5, 10, 20 and 42 on the wall of the Royals Hall of Fame beyond the left field stands.
Most Royals fans know the numbers belonged to George Brett, Dick Howser and Frank White, and Major League Baseball retired No. 42 retired across the game in honor of Jackie Robinson in 1997.
But who wore those numbers for the Royals before the club retired 5, 10 and 42 and MLB’s retirement of No. 42?
Before Frank White, a catcher and two pitchers wore No. 20 for the KC Royals.
In the Royals’ inaugural season of 1969, backup catcher Jim Campanis was assigned No. 20. After two seasons in which Campanis hit two home runs with seven RBIs and slashed .146/.203/.226 in 61 games, he was gone from the team.
In 1971, pitcher Monty Montgomery took over the number for parts of two seasons. A deal with the Mets prior to the 1973 season sent pitcher Barry Raziano to the Royals in exchange for pitcher Jerry Cram, who made two late-season appearances in No. 20.
In June 1973, White made his Royals debut wearing No. 19 before switching to 20 the following season and wearing it for the rest of his career.
Three Royals wore No. 5 in one season, but it’s best known for George Brett.
The first player to wear No. 5 for the Royals did so in 1971. So did the second. And the third.
According to Baseball Reference, Ted Savage, Bobby Floyd and Sandy Valdespino all wore No. 5 for the ’71 Royals. There is no real explanation for the reasoning or the timing of the changes as the timing of Floyd’s appearances overlaps with both Savage and Valdespino.
Oddly enough, Floyd had worn No. 6 in 1970 and changed to No. 15 in 1972. Savage played just 19 games for the Royals, but wore both 5 and 7.
Prior to Brett, outfielder Richie Scheinblum was the most accomplished player to wear No. 5, logging a .300 average and an All-Star appearance in 1972 before being traded to Cincinnati in the trade that brought Hal McRae to Kansas City.
While memories of Brett generally revolve around No. 5, he started out wearing No. 25 when he first came up in 1973 and through 1974. He took on the iconic Royal Blue 5 in 1975.
The man George Brett replaced at third and two who wore No. 9 also wore No. 10.
Six Royals wore No. 10 before manager Dick Howser, including Paul Schaal, who manned third base from 1969-73. Brett became the regular at third when Schaal was traded to California in April 1974.
Pitcher Bob McClure and outfielder Tommy Davis were No. 10 for one season each. Outfielder Joe Lahoud wore the number for parts of 1977 and 1978 after starting 1977 in No. 35.
The other two players who sported No. 10 for Kansas City were Clint Hurdle and Jamie Quirk, both of whom also wore No. 9 at different points in their careers. In addition to Nos. 9 and 10, Quirk also wore No. 18 when he came back to the club from 1985-88. Over his 18 years in the big leagues, Quirk donned nine different numbers.
Howser became the Royals’ manager when Jim Frey was fired during the 1981 season and eventually led the club to the 1985 World Series Championship.
A longtime KC Royals first base coach and nine players wore No. 42.
Of the retired numbers, No. 42 has been used by the most Royals with nine, but possibly the most influential organization member to wear it was coach Jose Martinez, who served under five different managers over eight seasons, including both the 1980 and 1985 World Series clubs.
Players to wear the number include several who wore multiple numbers with the team. Chris Zachary also wore No. 40, Buck Martinez also wore 21 and 6, George Throop also wore 35, Bill Paschall also wore 43 and 28, Tom Goodwin also wore 47 and Al Fitzmorris wore Nos. 23, 39 and 42 in his eight years with the team. Players who only wore 42 with the team were Keith Marshall, Tom Hall and Dave Henderson.
Goodwin was easily the most successful in the number, logging 150 stolen bases as a Royal, good for 11th in club history.
Aside from the Dodgers, Kansas City has as much claim to Jackie Robinson as any club, owing to the 34 games he played with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945 when he led the Negro American League in home runs and slashed .375/.449/.600.
The numbers hanging in Kauffman Stadium are retired for good reason. What other numbers will eventually hang on the wall of the Royals Hall of Fame?