Several KC Royals players have been with 10 or more teams in their careers, including the likes of Octavio Dotel, who played for 13 teams and Matt Stairs, who logged time with a dozen clubs.
During a lockout in the offseason, one finds many ways to entertain oneself. For this writer, the downtime led to a look at some of those well-traveled players and the question of whether you could assemble an entire roster with players involved in trades resulting from just one player’s career.
Confused? Here’s how it works. Consider players involved in trades from one player’s career and begin building one team using only those players. As a result, players like Dotel and Stairs, who both changed teams often via release or free agency, aren’t as valuable, but a player like former Royal Juan Beníquez, who was traded often, increases in value because 22 players were involved in his trades over the years.
The best we found, however, was Ken Brett, George’s brother who pitched for the Royals in 1980 and 1981. Brett spent parts of 14 seasons in the major leagues with 10 teams and was involved in six trades involving 23 other players. One of those players was traded with Brett twice, and one of the trades involved two players who went by “Dock” (technically one was “Doc”).
Even though Brett was never involved in a trade involving the Royals (he signed as a free agent in ’81), he was involved in deals that involved four others who played for the club, one who topped out in Triple-A with the Omaha Royals, and another longtime Kansas City A’s pitcher.
Infielders traded with KC Royals pitcher Ken Brett logged 16 All-Star Games.
Here’s the infield for our squad.
First base will be manned by three-time All-Star George “Boomer” Scott, who had a brief stay with the Royals in 1979 during a career that saw him blast 271 home runs. At second base is Willie Randolph, a six-time All-Star and a catalyst for the late ’70s Yankees teams that were a constant thorn in the Royals’ sides. Shortstop is tough as nobody involved in Brett deals was a primary player there, so we’re going with four-time All-Star Don Money. Money primarily played third or second base, but did log time early in his career at short. Third base goes to Dave Cash, a three-time All-Star who played some third despite primarily being a second baseman.
Infield reserves are John Vuckovich and John Flannery.
Catcher is slim with only Don Pavletich, who spent 12 years in the big leagues as a reserve. His best season was in 1966 with the Cincinnati Reds, when he appeared in 83 games with 12 homers, 38 RBIs and a .294 average.
The outfield starts with Tommy Harper, who played for seven teams and slugged 146 home runs in his career. Billy Conigliaro had a short five-year career, but did hit 18 home runs with the 1970 Red Sox, so he’s in our starting outfield. Carlos May and his career .274 average is also in our outfield, but could also back up Scott at first base. Carlos is the brother of Lee May, who played and coached for the Royals.
Reserve outfielders include former Royal Joe Lahoud, Rich Coggins and Pat Skrable, a career minor leaguer who topped out with Omaha in 1970 and with the Brewers in Triple-A in 1971. Lahoud is among Royals players who wore No. 10 before Dick Howser and the number’s retirement.
Pitchers include ‘Dock’ and ‘Doc’ and some KC Royals-Athletics connections.
The starting rotation includes Jim Lonborg, who was traded with Brett twice on his way to 157 career wins. Other starters are Dock Ellis and Doc Medich, who were both in the same trade that sent Randolph to the Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ellis is often remembered for pitching a no-hitter while on LSD in 1970, but there is much more to his story. Marty Pattin, who spent the final seven years of his career with the Royals and Brett, who also finished his big league career in Kansas City, round out our five-man rotation.
In the bullpen, righthanders Bill Champion, Don Kirkwood and John Verhoeven join lefty Earl Stephenson. Rounding out the pen are two righties with Kansas City ties. Ken Sanders had just one start in 409 career appearances, that one start coming in 1966 with the Kansas City A’s. Sanders finished his major league career with three scoreless innings over three appearances with the 1976 Royals. Righthander Lew Krausse finishes our team; Krausse pitched over parts of seven seasons with the Kansas City and then Oakland A’s.
And there you have a team made up entirely of players involved in trades with former Royal Ken Brett.