The 87th Greatest Royal in history is Chris Haney
Chris Haney was a pretty forgettable left handed starting pitcher for the Royals in the mid-1990s. I was pretty surprised to find out he pitched for the Royals in parts of seven seasons and won thirty-three games for the Royals.
Chris Haney was the son of a former Major Leaguer, light hitting catcher Larry Haney. His cousin Mike Cubbage was also a Major Leaguer. He attended the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and was a second round draft pick by the Montreal Expos in 1990. Just a year later he was in the big leagues, posting a 4.04 ERA in 84 innings at age 22 with the Expos.
The next year, the Expos traded him to Kansas City with P Bill Sampen for 3B Sean Berry and P Archie Corbin. In seven starts down the stretch, Haney posted a very respectable 3.86 ERA including a complete game shutout against the Mariners in September. Haney thought his performance would merit him a rotation spot the next year, but manager Hal McRae surprised him by going with veteran Mark Gardner instead of Haney out of spring training.
Haney would get the call in late May and got off to a very good start, going 3-0 with a 3.44 ERA in his first five starts. He would get shelled much of the rest of the year, including an awful seven run outing in July against Detroit in which he would record just one out. He ended the year with a respectable 9-9 record, but an awful 6.02 ERA. He gave a Jekyll and Hyde performance with a 2.59 ERA in his nine victories, but a 12.20 ERA in his nine losses.
Haney began 1994 in the rotation again and got off to a good start with a one run, six inning victory against Cleveland. But by May his ERA was over nine and he was demoted to Omaha, where he spent most of the year.
Haney made the team in 1995 out of the bullpen, but quickly earned a spot in the rotation. He finally looked like he was turning a corner at age 27, and on June 18, his ERA was down to 2.09 after seven shutout innings against Oakland. On July 12 he gave up six runs in just two innings and after that he was soon on the disabled list with a bad back that would keep him out the rest of the year.
Haney finally put it all together in 1996. He got off to a rough start, and at the end of April he had a 6.68 ERA. The Royals stuck with him and he rewarded them with a complete game shutout to begin May and a 2.65 ERA that month. He finished 10-14 with a 4.70 ERA and was second on the team in innings pitched. His strikeout to walk ratio was tenth in the league.
That success would be short-lived however. He would miss nearly all of 1997 with a sore elbow. He was terrible in 1998, and by September the Royals had enough and sold him to the Chicago Cubs.
Chris would pitch parts of a few more seasons for the Indians. He spent a season in Japan, then came back to the states to pitch for the Red Sox, where he gave up Wade Boggs' 3000th career hit.
In an alternate universe, Chris Haney probably would have been a solid Major League lefty that teams overpay for. In this reality, he was always tantalizing teams with his potential, always seemingly ready to put it together for a fifteen win season.