Kansas City Royals: Five Worst Royals All-Star Selections

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KC Royals Jeff Montgomery (Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Here’s one that could easily be overlooked due to Jeff Montgomery‘s extremely successful career. He’s in the 300-save club and the Royals Hall of Fame, and sits with Dan Quisenberry as one of the two best Royals closers of all time. 1996, however, may’ve been the beginning of the end of Monty’s success; this represented his third All-Star game and he didn’t even end up pitching in it.

As far as closing games goes, 1996 was a horrid year for Monty. By the All-Star break he had already blown six saves, lost six games, and had a 4.20 ERA. By the end of the season he had blown 10 saves, more than anyone else in the league, and had a 71% conversion rate.

No other pitcher with at least 18 save opportunities had a worse rate (Monty had 34 opportunities in total). To put this into perspective, in 2014 only one closer had a conversion rate under 80%.

So, what was Monty doing there? Well, obviously he was a respectable name who would (and still does) represent the Royals organization well, and the reality was, there wasn’t much else to choose from.

Highlights from the season included 66 stolen bases from Tom Goodwin, a .303 batting average from Jose Offerman, and 22 home runs from Craig Paquette (but you know, the Orioles had seven players with 20+ home runs this same year, so Paquette’s 10 first-half dingers with a .238 batting average didn’t turn too many heads). Tim Belcher, Kevin Appier, and Jose Rosado all had decent years, but nothing that screamed “All-Star” either (plus, Appier had gone in 1995).

So, the Royals finished the year 75-86, last in the AL Central, and Jeff Montgomery was their lone All-Star.

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