Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; General view of the exterior of Kauffman Stadium. The facility is the home of the Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals: Where Are They Now - Bob "The Hammer" Hamelin

The year was 1994. Baseball was approaching a player strike but as a Kansas City Royals fan there seemed to be a lot to look forward to. Yes, George Brett had hung up his cleats the year before but the future was bright. We had “The Hammer”, Bob Hamelin.

As a collegian, Hamelin had spurned an offer to play football at Notre Dame, and went to UCLA instead to play baseball. The Royals drafted him in the second round, and it seemed choosing to play baseball was paying off.

After a string of injuries slowed down his arrival to the Major Leagues, The Hammer had burst onto the scene in Kansas City, and the home run power we had all heard about was for real.

Bob excited Royals fans by breaking Bo Jackson‘s rookie home run record, and was chosen American League Rookie of the Year.

For Hamelin and the Royals, that rookie season was the highlight. The next year Bob managed only seven home runs, and after only nine round trippers in 1995.  Hamelin’s time in Kansas City was over.

Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After a 18 home run year for the Tigers, and a one year stint with the Brewers, Hamelin found himself playing for Toledo in 1999. A ground out mid game was the end. Hamelin walked back to the dugout and quit. What had started out with so much promise was over.

After his playing career abruptly ended Bob worked in the construction industry, owning his own company, but eventually he did find his way back into baseball. After attending scout school, he has worked as a scout for the Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Boston Red Sox.

Now 46 years old, Hamelin has two sons, and spends most of his scouting activities on the east coast concentrating in the Carolina region. Asked once what his greatest memory was he said, “I remember a homer I hit against Chicago in 1994 during our 14-game winning streak. I think it came in extra innings.” For the record it was a three-run bomb in the 12th inning of a 6-4 KC win.

I remember that hit as well. I was there. It happens to be one of my favorite Royals memories just because I saw it live. I wonder from time to time what might have been if “The Hammer” could have remained healthy.

On a humorous note Hamelin has won the unofficial award for having the worst baseball card ever produced.

Hey, at least he made it onto a card, right?

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Bob Hamelin Kansas City Royals

  • 6is9

    That’s a 404 Error link to Slate. No worst baseball card ever story/photo exists on their site now.

    • Joel Wagler

      Thanks. Fixed. For whatever reason, that link wasn’t working.

  • Dave Pond

    When I lived in NC, it was the year Hammer was playing for Toledo. I was trying to get a photo I had taken in 1994 signed by Hamelin, but couldn’t find him pregame. So, a friend of mine and I signed up to sumo wrestle, since we knew they outfitted contestants down the hall in the visitor’s dugout.

    Fully dressed in sumo attire, but no sign of Bob, until he rounded the corner, in uniform, hot dog in hand. He gave the obligatory “hey” and head nod and, as he passed, I grabbed his arm, and said “Bob, the only reason I’m wearing this stupid suit was to see if I could meet you.” He looked over at my buddy, Eric, who nodded and, then, Hammer said “Well, that’s pretty cool.”

    Hammer stayed with us through the half-inning, eating his hot dog and talking baseball in the back of the dugout. We made plans to meet by the bus so he could sign the photo. When the Bulls’ half ended, Hamelin, with a chuckle, said “Well, i guess I better get back–he [the Mud Hens manager] may want me to pinch-hit.”

    Two weeks later, he quit mid-game. Heck of a nice guy though, and I wish him all the best.