Page 5 of 5
The stories sound apocryphal, like something from a Chuck Norris website, but they're all true. From the warning track, Bo Jackson threw out the speedy Harold Reynolds at home. He hit tape-measure home runs, broke bats over his knee after strikeouts, and ran up outfield walls to make catches. His Royals career ended abruptly in 1990, after he suffered a career-threatening hip injury sustained while pursuing his "hobby" — playing football for the Oakland Raiders. The tragedy: For much of his baseball career, he was more media attraction than ballplayer, but by the time his Royals career ended, he had learned his trade and become a productive hitter.
2. The Draft
The root cause of the Royals' failure is the amateur draft. From 1992 to 2001, the Royals selected the following players in the first round of the draft: Jim Pittsley, Jeff Granger, Matt Smith, Juan LeBron, Dee Brown, Dan Reichert, Jeff Austin, Kyle Snyder, Colt Griffin and Mike Stodolka. Combined, they acquired 36 wins and 190 hits in the major leagues.
1. Ewing's Heirs
Without philanthropist Ewing Kauffman, the Royals wouldn't have existed or succeeded. KC is still looking for a suitable replacement. After Kauffman's death, the Royals were a charity case. More precisely, the IRS approved a complicated estate plan allowing for a charitable trust to run the team. The endless search for a permanent owner included George Brett (who didn't have enough money), Lamar Hunt (who wasn't that interested), Miles Prentice (rejected by baseball's owners, who are like the characters of Mean Girls, only male and elderly) and "rum heir" Facundo Bacardi. Former Wal-Mart CEO David Glass ultimately bought the team. His ownership has been awesome, other than his habit of shelling out for expensive underachievers while failing to pony up for investments that might have paid off, and letting son Dan Glass meddle in personnel decisions.
On September 6, 2008, the Royals gave away bobbleheads with the likeness of Tony Peña Jr., then the worst hitter in the American League. Oddly, the bobblehead featured Peña fielding a baseball, not stranding two runners by missing a pitch way out of the strike zone.
These hideous Royals uniforms, worn during Turn Ahead the Clock Day in Seattle, appeared to have been inspired by the uniforms featured in the dystopian 1970s James Caan movie Rollerball, with royal blue inexplicably changed to yellow. At left, Jeff King models the uniform of the future, along with a porn mustache circa 1975.