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15. Ed Hearn
Some might remember Ed Hearn as just "the other guy" in one of the worst trades in baseball history, when the Royals picked up Hearn in exchange for David Cone in 1987. Cone, of course, went on to become one of baseball's best pitchers, whereas Hearn's career ended after only 13 games as a Royal. After a post-retirement cancer diagnosis, he contemplated suicide — but he bounced back to become a successful motivational speaker and writer known for his charity work. Did Kansas City really "lose" in that trade? The Royals gave up a terrific pitcher, but Kansas City gained a terrific citizen and an inspirational story.
14. The Rookie of the Year Curse
KC had bad luck with its two post-1985 Rookie of the Year winners. Bob Hamelin, an overweight, bespectacled player suffering from back problems, won in 1994 but was sent to the minors the next season and retired three years later — in the dugout, during a game. Angel Berroa won in 2003; the Royals, as the team had done with Hamelin, demoted him to the minors the next season. Later, after returning to the majors, Berroa recorded the worst slugging and on-base percentages in the major leagues.
13. Jose Guillen
After years of penny-pinching by Wal-Mart executive David Glass, the Royals' front office finally spent millions on an "impact bat." The choice: Jose Guillen, who had played for eight teams in 10 years and was well-known for his clubhouse tantrums. Guillen arrived at camp overweight and facing a drug-related suspension. During the season, he publicly sparred with teammates, fans and his manager, all while proving disappointing at the plate and on the field. Guillen sat out his second season due to injury. Predictably, Guillen is hitting well in his final contract year, although he offers no rebate for the $24 million that the Royals paid him in his first two years.
12. Neifi Perez
It isn't just that former Royals shortstop Neifi Perez was bad. Acquired in 2001 in a baffling trade that sent All-Star slugger Jermaine Dye packing, Perez spent the 2002 season racking up the second-worst season recorded by any player since 1956. He also took banned substances during his career, shocking fans who were unprepared to hear the phrases "Neifi Perez" and "performance enhancing" in the same sentence. Oh, and he lied about his age.
11. Together We Can
In 2003, the Royals printed T-shirts proclaiming "Together We Can," the team motto coined by then-manager Tony Peña. In 2004, the Royals finished last. That year, Juan Gonzalez, signed to a guaranteed $4.5 million contract, suffered from a mysterious injury that was initially diagnosed as "day to day" and was later extended to "season to season." Peña abruptly resigned in 2005, after being implicated in allegations of adultery in a neighbor's divorce case.
10. John Schuerholz
In 1985, Royals GM John Schuerholz won a World Series ring. Then it all went wrong. In an effort to obtain one last championship for owner Ewing Kauffman, Schuerholz traded Danny Jackson, later the National League Cy Young winner, for average shortstop Kurt Stillwell. He traded David Cone in 1987, who went on to win eight postseason starts, for catcher Ed Hearn, who started eight games. Schuerholz signed free agents Storm Davis and Mark Davis, who both pitched disastrously here. Kauffman died in 1991, and Schuerholz, having failed to win another championship for him, moved to the Atlanta Braves. The Braves played in a World Series two years later.