RoyalsRetro turns to one of our most beloved flameouts this week at #97, Mark Quinn. This spring, the Mark Quinn Award was inaugurated, given annually to the position player who most excites Royals fans with his promise, only to regress horribly. The nominees for the 2007 Quinn are Esteban German, Ryan Shealy, and David DeJesus.-RR
The 97th Greatest Royal of All-Time is Mark Quinn
RF-DH Mark Quinn probably will open the season on the disabled list due to a cracked rib he suffered while playfully kung fu fighting with his brother. An MRI found a fractured lower right rib, which will keep the former Rice player sidelined four to six weeks. - February 28, 2002
Mark Quinn did not listen to his sensei
Mark Quinn has had a very brief Major League career thus far, but holds two very odd distinctions. He is one of three players to hit two home runs in his MLB debut. The others are Bert Campaneris and Bob Nieman. He is also the All-Time leader in home runs by players with a last name beginning with the letter "Q" besting Jaime Quirk 45-43.
Mark was an 11th round pick by the Royals out of Rice University. This will be hard to believe, but his plate discipline numbers as a minor leaguer were quite good. In 1996, his first full season as a pro, he drew 43 walks and struck out just 54 times in 437 at bats. In 1997 he drew 57 walks while striking out 66 times in 395 at bats. In 1998 he drew 43 walks and 54 strike outs in 372 at bats. He was a three time minor league All-Star and hit .324, .349, and .360 in successive minor league seasons all with home run power.
In Mark Quinn's rookie season he hit .294/.342/.488 with 20 home runs and an amazing 35 walks. He finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting and Royals fans dreamt of a powerful lineup of Damon, Beltran, Sweeney, Dye and Quinn slugging them to success.
Mark Quinn had other ideas. His discipline at the plate declined precipitously. He drew just 12 walks in 473 plate appearances in 2001, going 241 consecutive plate appearances without drawing an unintentional walk.
As he trotted to first base, the crowd cheered, stadium fireworks went off and scoreboard flashed, "Walk! Walk!" "I looked over at the pitcher and he was laughing, too," the free-swinging outfielder said. "I'm just glad to get that monkey off my back, so people can find something else to blow up and make a big deal out of."
That lack of discipline at the plate spread to his work habits. He never found the time to work hard at his craft, instead dating Playboy models and practicing Kung Fu with his brother. His kung fu injuries and other injuries kept him out almost the entire 2002 season. The Royals released him in the spring of 2003. At age 29, Mark Quinn was already washed up, another "what if" the Royals had seen far too much of in the last decade.