While the KC Royals and the rest of Major League Baseball awaits beginning the 2020 season, I decided to jump down a rabbit hole to determine an all-time great baseball team made up of guys who only briefly played professionally in Kansas City.
After all, the Kansas City Royals only have one player in Cooperstown: George Brett.
But there are a lot of players enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame who played very briefly for either the Kansas City Athletics, Monarchs, or Royals (and one guy who played for two of them). There are even more players who suited up for those three teams who had productive careers but didn’t make it into Cooperstown.
At the start of this project, my goal was to present a starting nine, plus a starting pitcher, of players who only played a short period for one of the Athletics, Monarchs, and Royals*. And yet, the further I dug, the more I realized I could expand that idea into a full-blown, 26-man roster.
*I won’t be considering the Kansas City Blues, a former minor league team that was the Yankees’ AAA affiliate from 1936-1954. So gone from consideration are the likes of MVP and four-time All-Star Al Rosen and Hall of Famers Phil Rizzuto and Mickey Mantle.
What’s more, I was able to create this roster with some restrictions, some objective but one glaringly subjective.
- If you think of a particular player, and the first team that pops into your head is one of the Royals, Athletics, or Monarchs, then that player is ineligible.
- For batters, he’s got to have had between one and 499 hits to be eligible.
- For batters, to be eligible for a position, he must have started at least one game at that position while playing for that Kansas City team.
- For pitchers, he must have appeared in at least one game but pitched for team no longer than three full seasons.*
- Since I’m doing a 26-man roster, I’m splitting it down the middle: 13 pitchers, 13 batters.
*There is one exception to this particular rule. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Before getting to the squad, I’m going to take a couple of minutes to quickly reflect on the bunch of players who, while they met the criteria, missed the cut.