Slowly on the countdown, we reach #68 - Pat Sheridan
In between stints scaring children at local playgrounds, Sheridan played outfield for the Royals
Pat was a fourth outfielder who in the course of a nine-year Major League career managed to play on four division title winners, including the 1985 World Champion Kansas City Royals. Pat was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and graduated from Wayne High School. He then went on to excel at Eastern Michigan University where he would put on a Hall of Fame performance.
The Royals selected Sheridan in the third round of the 1979 Amateur Draft, one round before they selected Dan Marino. Sheridan consistently hit for high averages in the minor leagues, but had very little power, and only mediocre speed or plate discipline. By mid-May of 1983 he was in the big leagues for good, filling in for injured veteran right fielder Jerry Martin. Sheridan struggled initially, and by mid-July his average was below the Mendoza line. But he went on a tear in the second half, hitting .321 in July and .343 in August.
''I feel really comfortable now...When I first got here I hit a couple of quick home runs and then tried to pull everything. I started thinking I was a home-run hitter. I began pressing and started struggling to hit my weight. 'But I'm getting away from trying to hit home runs now. After the All-Star Game everything started falling into place. The hits started falling and when you experience success you naturally play with more confidence. I just trying to hit the ball hard and when I do that, I'll take the results.''
Sheridan ended the season at .270 with seven home runs and thirty-six RBI in 109 games. Going into 1984, Sheridan was in a great position to grab a starting outfield job. Veterans Jerry Martin and Amos Otis were released and the team was uncertain if they would have Willie Wilson, who was awaiting a suspension following his guilty plea on federal drug charges. Going into the season, the Royals were prepared to go with three players all entering their first full season of big league play - Sheridan, Butch Davis and Darryl Motley.
Sheridan got off to a great start in 1984, and by the end of May, he was among the league's leaders in hitting with a .333 average. Only a September slump prevented Sheridan from a .300 average. He would finish with a .283 average with eight home runs and 53 RBI. The Royals snuck into the playoffs with an underwhelming 84-78 record in a hapless American League Western Division, and prepared to face the Detroit Tigers, who had run over the American League like a runaway freight train that year. The Tigers made quick work of the Royals with a quick three game sweep in which the Royals could manage just four runs. Sheridan was 0-6 in the Series.
The Royals went into 1985 with Motley, Wilson and Sheridan in the outfield, but manager Dick Howser was concerned about his lack of power production from the corner outfield spots. Sheridan slumped badly that year and by June had lost his starting job to newly acquired outfielder Lonnie Smith. He also battled hamstring issues all season and ended the season at a career low .228. He did come up with some clutch hits in the last weeks of the season, prompting manager Dick Howser to platoon him in the American League Championship Series with right hander Darryl Motley.
Sheridan started Game One, but went 0-3. In Game Two, he came off the bench with a solo-home run to tie the game 4-4, but the Royals fell to the Blue Jays 6-5. Sheridan again went hitless in Games Three, Four and Six as a starter, but in the crucial Game Seven, he had two hits, including a solo home run in a 6-2 Royals victory, sending them to their second World Series in franchise history.
In the 1985 World Series, Sheridan started four games, and went 4-18 with two RBI although he struck out seven times. In the ninth inning of Game Six, with Cardinals lefty reliever Ken Dayley in the game, Sheridan was lifted for pinch hitter Darryl Motley. When the Cardinals replaced Dayley with right handed closer Todd Worrell, Howser countered by lifting the right handed Motley for speedy left-hander Jorge Orta. Orta hit a weak ground ball to the right side of the infield that first baseman Jack Clark flipped to Worrell for the out. Umpire Don Denkinger shocked everyone when he called Orta safe at first. The Cardinals collapsed after the call, and baseball history was made. The Royals went on to win the game and the Series and were crowned as champs.
Although the Royals were confident as champs, they knew they had some serious holes in their offense, particularly at shortstop with Onix Concepcion and Buddy Biancalana and in right field with Motley and Sheridan.
"'We have to get some improvement out of those guys... 'I don't think we stand a chance to repeat this year if we don't have every guy on the team carrying his own load."
-Second Baseman Frank White
After struggling badly in spring training, Sheridan was released before the season began. He signed with his hometown Tigers and spent the next three and half seasons as a light hitting reserve outfielder in Detroit, even playing in the 1987 American League Championship Series. He also served as a reserve for the 1989 National League West winning San Francisco Giants before ending his career with a brief stint with the Yankees in 1991.
After baseball, Sheridan returned to Michigan, where he now sells insurance.
"We got the job done, and that's the way we approached it. That's what Dick Howser instilled in us."