Kansas City Royals best all-time first basemen – No 5: Steve Balboni
Steve Balboni looked more like a doctor, or maybe an accountant than he did a baseball player, but the stocky first baseman offered some prodigious power to some excellent Royals teams.
His numbers look much like those of a current era player, as opposed to someone from the mid-eighties. He seldom walked, as he had only 175 in 2,201 plate appearances. He struck out a LOT, whiffing 568 times, including a league-leading 166 times in 1985. And he hit his fair share of home runs, pounding out 119, including 36 in 1985, a franchise record that stood for thirty years.
His inability to get on base eventually did him in with the Royals. Despite his ability to bash long balls, his OPS with the Royals was only .752. He also struggled as a fielder. He committed 51 errors at fist from 1984 through 1987, leading all major league first basemen in that category twice.
By 1988, the Royals were ready to move Brett to first full-time, and with Bill Buckner and Pat Tabler on the roster, the team didn’t need a DH who had trouble getting on base. The Royals released Balboni in May. He finished out the season with the Mariners, played for the Yankees a couple of years, hit 55 more homers, then hung it up after the 1990 season.