The Kansas City Royals top first basemen in franchise history are an exciting collection of players.
In the history of the Kansas City Royals, only 12 players saw enough time to be considered first basemen and accumulated at least 1,000 plate appearances with the team. Other players saw time there, like George Brett and John Wathan, but both spent considerably more time at other positions.
To qualify for this list, players needed at least 1,500 plate appearances, and first base had to be their primary position. The rankings are objective, ranked according to Wins Above Replacement.
Several players saw some action at first base but spent more time at designated hitter than they did on the field. Others just weren’t with the club long enough to get enough plate appearances. Some of those players include:
- Mike Sweeney
- Billy Butler
- Jeff King
- Bob Hamelin
- Pete LaCock
- Matt Stairs
- Ken Harvey
King is a compelling case because he quit just 21games into the 1999 season, for apparently no reason. If he had played out the season, he would have easily made this list and ranked high.
Of course, Sweeney and Butler would have ranked very high, if most of their games weren’t at DH.
Without further ado, here are the Kansas City Royals best all-time first basemen:
Kansas City Royals best all-time first basemen – No 6: Bob Oliver
For the first three years of the Royals’ existence, Bob Oliver was part of making the team a legitimate major league team. His versatility allowed him to play all over the field, and his bat provided power in those early years.
Oliver played at least ten games at five positions for the Royals, but he saw the most time at first. He dabbled a bit at third and left field, and he saw plenty of time in center, but he saw over 100 games in right as well.
His best season in Kansas City was in 1970 when hit .260, had 27 home runs, and 99 runs batted in. He set career highs in both walks with 42, and strikeouts with 126. In his three-plus seasons with the Royals, he only walked 79 times and struck out 300 times. He also had 49 homers and 200 RBI to give those early Royals teams some power to go with his versatility.
He had some successful campaigns for the Angels after leaving Kansas City, but he was soon out of baseball at the age of 32.