From 1995-2012, the Kansas City Royals were completely irrelevant when it came to Major League Baseball.
We all love the Kansas City Royals now, but it wasn’t like that just a few years ago. That’s not to critique the fanbase, but more so to point out that this team was an absolute joke for a long period of time.
The Royals won the World Series in 1985, but nobody then knew that that would be the last playoff appearance for the team for another 29 years. While the Royals saw some decent seasons right after ’85, they never made it to the postseason despite playing well.
The 1995 season is when things really started to get dark though. That was after the strike-shortened season and it seemed to have become almost a curse to the franchise. The Royals could not win games and were one of the more painful teams to watch.
I grew up in the 90s and really didn’t have much to do with the Kansas City Royals or baseball in general. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even known the sport existed had my dad not been a DIEHARD Royals fan. When I say diehard, I mean one of the biggest Royals fans in the world.
During those dark years, however, the KC Royals weren’t completely useless. They were bad, yes, but they did have some good players on their squad during that time.
Let’s take a look at the best Kansas City Royals to play for the team during the dark years.
This post was updated in February 2021.
BEST ROYALS DURING THE DARK YEARS – HONORABLE MENTION: JEFF SUPPAN
ROYALS STARTING PITCHER FROM 1998-2002
While there weren’t a whole lot of super-talented players with the Kansas City Royals during those dark times, there were obviously more than 20. I decided to make this a list of 20 but wanted to include Jeff Suppan as an honorable mention.
Suppan was a second-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in the 1993 draft and joined the Royals in 1998. He went on to pitch for five seasons with the Royals and was apart of some pretty terrible Royals teams.
In 1998, Suppan only pitched in four games for the Royals (after being downright awful with the Diamondbacks) and posted a 0.71 ERA for the team during those games.
After that, Suppan’s stats weren’t the greatest, but he managed to earn double-digit wins for his first full three seasons as a Royal. Suppan was also an innings eater, pitching over 200 innings in all four of his full seasons in Kansas City.
After his days with the Royals were over with, Suppan pitched for the Pirates, Red Sox (again), Cardinals, Brewers, and the Padres. His final year in the majors was in 2012.
Suppan wasn’t an All-Star by any means, but I felt he should be included on this list as an honorable mention.
STATS WHILE WITH THE ROYALS
864.2 Innings Pitched