Batting first for the KC Royals: LF Alex Gordon
From his debut in 2007 to his final game in 2020, Alex Gordon's journey with the Royals was one of dedication, evolution, and unmatched loyalty. A Nebraska native, Gordon was a local sensation who seamlessly transitioned from college stardom to becoming a cornerstone of the Royals' resurgence.
Gordon's defensive prowess was evident after making the transition to left field. With a blend of speed, instinct, and his ability to read the game, he earned eight Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves, solidifying his place as one of his era's premier outfielders. His diving catches, wall-climbing grabs, and rocket throws became legendary. He led the AL in outfield assists twice, recording 102 in his career. His .994 fielding percentage is not perfect, but still ranks 13th all-time.
But Gordon wasn't just a defensive stalwart; he evolved into a reliable offensive force. As a key figure in the Royals' back-to-back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015, his veteran presence steadied the lineup as well. He hit 190 home runs with 749 RBI across his 14-year career, which included three All-Star selections from 2013 to 2015.
Off the field, Gordon's impact was profound. Renowned for his community work and philanthropy, he epitomized the values of leadership, humility, and giving back. His connection with fans, characterized by countless standing ovations at Kauffman Stadium, showcased the mutual respect and admiration between player and city.
Gordon's 32.0 fWAR is tied for fourth in franchise history and is the most accumulated this century. He was certainly the bridge from poor Royals baseball in the 2000s to better days, and back again before his retirement.