The 62nd Greatest Royal of All-Time is lefty reliever and Kansas City native Steve Mingori.
Steve Mingori was a Kansas City kid who made it to the big leagues as a left-handed reliever, spending seven years of his career with his hometown Royals. He was a crafty lefty who threw sidearm, sometimes employing a screwball that was tough on right-handers. Mingori was born in Kansas City, MO and played in the Ban Johnson League. In one game at Satchel Paige Stadium, he blasted a home run onto Swope Parkway. In 1962, the League featured four future Major Leaguers - Mingori, Chuck Dobson, Paul Lindblad and Steve Renko.
How does Kansas City fare as a hotbed of Major League talent? Here's my All-Kansas City Team, consisting of players that were born in the Kansas City area.
Manager: Casey Stengel (Kansas City)
C Johnny Kling (Kansas City)
1B David Segui (Kansas City, KS)
2B Al Newman (Kansas City)
SS Ivy Olson (Kansas City)
3B Ken Boyer (Liberty)
LF Bob Dernier (Kansas City)
CF Ken Berry (Kansas City)
RF Bob Allison (Raytown)
DH Lee Stevens (Kansas City)
SP David Cone (Kansas City)
SP Mike Torrez (Topeka)
SP Vern Kennedy (Kansas City)
SP Carl Morton (Kansas City)
SP Ross Grimsley (Kansas City, KS)
SP Claude Hendrix (Olathe)
(KC also produced Andy Ashby, Chuck Dobson, Shaun Marcum, Ray Sadecki, and Steve Renko)
RP Darren Oliver (Kansas City)
RP John O’Donoghue (Kansas City)
RP Steve Mingori (Kansas City)
RP Neil Allen (Kansas City, KS)
RP Tom Henke (Kansas City)
Of course, this omits some fine players that grew up in Kansas City but were not born here like Brian McRae, Frank White and Albert Pujols. And someday maybe Aaron Crow can join this list. Not exactly a hotbed, but Kansas City is a lukewarm talent pipeline.
After attending Pittsburg State University,
Mingori signed with the Cincinnati Reds. After a 3.88 ERA his first pro
season, he posted four consecutive minor league seasons with a sub-3.00
ERA. By 1969 he was in AAA, just a step away from the Major Leagues
when he was dealt that off-season to the Cleveland Indians for utility
player Jay Ward.
Now twenty-six, Mingori spent most of the season in AA before getting
promoted to the big leagues where he posted a 2.66 ERA in just over
twenty innings of work.
Royals Born in the Kansas City Area
David Cone 1986, 1993-1994 - Kansas City, MO
Rick DeHart 2003 - Topeka, KS
Steve Mingori 1973-1979 - Kansas City, MO
Russ Morman 1990-1991 - Independence, MO
Don O'Riley 1969-1970 - Topeka, KS
Kit Pellow 2002 - Kansas City, MO
Steve Renko 1983 - Kansas City, KS
Ray Sadecki 1975-1976 - Kansas City, KS
Steve Shifflett 1992 - Kansas City, MO
Tim Spehr 1991, 1997-1999 - Excelsior Springs, MO
Mingori made the team the following spring and was sensational as a reliever, finishing the season with a 27 2/3 innings scoreless streak and a 1.43 ERA for the year. High walk totals caught up to him in 1972 as his ERA rose to 3.95 with 36 walks in 57 innings pitched.
Mingori missed the first month of the 1973 season, and after a rough start he was dealt to the Royals for reliever Mike Jackson. He pitched very well for the Royals, posting a 3.04 ERA in Kansas City, including a solid seven inning start to end the season.
After missing the first month of the 1974 season, Mingori returned to pitch very effectively for a young Royals ballclub. He went 23 2/3 innings at one stretch without yielding an earned run, and finished the year with a 2.81 ERA. He steadily improved the next two seasons, posting a 2.50 ERA in 50 innings in 1975, and a 2.32 ERA in 85 innings in 1976.
In the 1976 ALCS, Mingori pitched a scoreless inning in Game Two, but gave up the game winning two run double to Elliott Maddox in Game Three. He would pitch the last two innings of Game Four, earning a save, but the Royals would fall to the Yankees in Game Five.
The Royals were a freight train in 1977, barreling over the American League with a league high 102 wins. They led the league in ERA, with Mingori posting a 3.09 ERA despite just 19 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched. In the eighth inning of Game Two of the ALCS, Mingori was brought in after a Reggie Jackson RBI single with the Royals clinging to a 3-2 lead, with runners at first and second and one out. He retired Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss to escape out of the inning with no further damage. The next inning Manager Whitey Herzog pulled Mingori for Dennis Leonard, who gave up three runs, costing the Royals the game and the Series.
The Royals regrouped and again won the division in 1978. One key to that team was a solid bullpen, which Herzog affectionately nicknamed, "Mungo, Hungo, Duck and the Bird." "Mungo" was Mingori, "Hungo" was Al Hrabosky, "Duck" was Marty Pattin, and "Bird" was Doug Bird. Mingori posted a 2.74 ERA and was second on the team in appearances with 45. He would appear in just one game of the 1978 ALCS however, giving up three runs in three plus innings of work as the Royals once again fell to the Yankees.
Mingori's numbers fell back a bit in 1979, and in August his ERA was at 4.19 when he was called on to pitch in the second inning of a 2-1 game against the Yankees in which starter Rich Gale was struggling. Mingori would be lit up for eight runs on nine hits in just an inning and a third of work. His ERA skyrocketed to 5.79. He never pitched after that season.
Mingori was briefly a pitching coach in the Toronto Blue Jays in the early 90s. From what I can tell, he still lives in the area, making appearances.