To celebrate Jermaine Dye's appearance in the 2005 World Series, let us take a look at Dye's Royal legacy, which unlike, say, Terrence Long's, is actually worth pausing to remember. Who knows, maybe he'll return to KC someday.
Games Played:(547) Tied for 30th with 90s-era shortstop Dave Howard, himself perhaps one of the worst players ever to record over 1500 career at-bats. At 30th, Dye's close to some rarified air in terms of Royals history, only just behind such luminaries as Daryl Porter (555, 29th) and Steve Balboni (566, 28th). With regards to some of his immediate late-90's contemporaries, Dye's well behind Carlos Beltran (795, 15th), Johnny Damon (803, 14th) and Mike Sweeney (1147, 7th).
Hits:(584) Dye ranks 21st all-time here, in a somewhat strange category. At some level runs scored reflects raw playing time, OBP and the strength of guys behind you on a daily basis. You can probably throw speed in there too. So, yea, Dye's 21st all-time, which I guess, in tandem with his games played ranking, reflects his general offensive abilities, as well as some strong hitters behind him.
Doubles:(118) 18th all-time, two doubles behind Wally Joyner and one ahead of Al Cowens. Dye played in a run environment much better than that of the great 70s & 80s era Royals, although its possible the natural surface at the K may have actually been less double-friendly. Still, 18th all-time. Not shabby. Had Dye finished the 2001 season he would have likely climbed as high as 14th all-time.
Triples:(11) Tied for 35th with three players, and only one behind Cookie Rojas and triple machine Tom Goodwin.
Home Runs:(85) Should be more, but still good for 13th best in Royals history. In a relatively short tour of duty, Dye sits one homer behind The Joker, although Randa did get roughly 500 more ABs to do so. Weirdly, Dye's not too much closer to anyone else. After Randa, Dye needs 18 more homers to catch Mike Macfarlane and 24 behind Bo Jackson for 10th all-time. Dye's 33 homers in 2000 ranks as the 6th best single-season all-time for a Royal, one behind a three-headed Dean Palmer/Danny Tartabull/John Mayberry and two behind Gary Gaetti (what???!!) in 1995. Of course, Steve Balboni still leads the team with 36. Wow, Gary Gaetti... damn that's weird.
RsBI:(329) In short time, Dye climbed to 17th, just a good game behind Cookie Rojas despite the Cook? playing in over 340 more games. Actually, between Balboni (318, 18th) and Fred Patek (382, 12th), its quite bunched, and again, Dye coulda been a contender? had he just been around longer. In 1999 Dye batted in 119, good for third best ever, followed by a 2000 season that featured 118 RsBI. It should be noted that George Brett has a 583 RBI lead over 2nd place RBI man Hal McRae.
Total Bases:(979) 18th most in Royals history. Not the most talked about category, but personally I prefer total bases to hits if we?re talking rawest of the raw counting stats. As you?ve noticed, Dye and Balboni appear close by often, and its no different here, with Balbo at 19th with 917 bases. Dye?s 2000 still stands as the second best season, bases-wise of all-time, behind only Brett?s 1979.
Stolen Bases:(13) Tied for 62nd all-time with Raul Ibanez, David DeJesus and Tony Graffanino. Dye was a good athlete in his KC days, but wasn't the most graceful runner. Other than the fast, but dumb DeJesus (16 caught stealings??), Ibanez and Graffy are actually nice comparables for Dye.
The story of Jermaine Dye?s Royals career really begins in 1999, when Dye burst onto the scene with a .294/.354/.526 line buoyed by 27 homers and 74 hits. I still remember Dye?s spirited 8 triples, good for 5th best in the American League. That was a magical triples race that season. A .526 slugging percentage in 158 games? I?ll take it. Although, with a little historical perspective it probably isn?t great potatoes, given the late 90?s run environment, which saw the league line get to .276/.349/.442. The good news in 1999 was that Dye finally started taking pitches, boosting his OBP above (gasp!) .300 for the first time.
In 2000, Dye continued towards an age 26 peak-season that made him look like one of the best players in the American League. As is often the case, his bat led him to a Golden Glove for his work in the outfield, and his 193 hits (7th), 337 total bases (5th) and 132 runs created (10th) all cracked the league top ten. In 157 games, Dye crested to a .321/.390/.561 line. Not shabby for a guy who two years before hit .234/.270/.336 in 60 games. Maybe this can happen with Mark Teahen, no? That season Dye blasted 33 homers for a Royals team that went 77-85 and looked vaguely interesting heading into the rest of the decade. Five years later and the franchise is no better off, and the core of that team hasn?t been together in 4 years. That team went 21-32 in June and July, and played 56-53 in the season?s beginning and ending months. Just a weird, tantalizing team that ultimately let us down.
In 2001, Dye was traded to Oakland on July 25th that sent Neifi Perez to Kansas City (while the Rox got three minor league scrubs from Oakland). In 97 games with the Royals that season, Dye hit a sick .272/.333/.417 with 13 homers. Jermaine did however rebound with a .297/.366/.547 line with the A?s to finish the season. Plus, in only 61 games with the A?s, dude hit 13 homers.
You might like to know that Dye was making $260,000 dollars a year in 1999 when he first became a competent major league player. The Royals paid him $2.3 million in 2000 and part of his 3.8 million in 2001. Since then, Dye?s been well-compensated, for those that care about such things, earning somewhere in the area of $41.4 million for his career thus far. This season, Dye?s settled back into his career norm, .274/.333/.512, as the OBP and BA have settled down to only semi-competent levels, offset somewhat by a modicum of power. Still, he hit 31 homers, (thanks US Cellular) which doesn?t hurt, and somehow led AL Right Fielders.
A haunting image of a past's promise unfulfilled.