When Billy Butler came to the plate in the bottom of the 7th inning last night, it marked the first time since 2005 that a Royal player batted in an All-Star Game. Mike Sweeney, whose All-Star resume is four zero for ones, was that guy.
When Billy came up again in the bottom of the ninth, it marked the first time since 2000 that a Royal got more than one plate appearance in the mid-summer classic. Jermaine Dye went 0-2 with a walk and a run scored back in 2000.
While Kansas City pitchers, notably Joakim Soria and Zack Greinke, have made some actual contributions to the game in the near past, Royals' hitters have been non-factors. Footnotes at best.
It doesn't matter that Billy Butler came away with a ground out and a strike out last night. At least people had two chances to see an actual Kansas City hitter - assuming they were paying attention at that point. Billy's groundout, by the way, was the first time a Royal had put a ball in play since 2002. Sweeney struck out in 2005 and Ken Harvey did the same in 2004.
Twenty-three years, boys and girls. That's how long it has been since someone in a Kansas City uniform had a hit in the All-Star Game. The answer is after the jump, but I bet if you do the math you can figure it out.
Of course, it was Bo Jackson in 1989, who went 2-4 with a home run and a steal on his way to being the game's MVP. That capped a decade in which Kansas City batters went 9 for 28 in the All-Star Game, highlighted by two two-hit games by George Brett and Frank White's only hit in 1986 (he was 1-7 in his career).
The 1990s, saw only Danny Tartabull (0-2) and Dean Palmer (0-1) come to the plate, but the 1970s were a tremendous time (no revelation there) to be a Royals' fan.
In 1979, Darrell Porter, Brett and White combined for NINE plate appearances. That they went a combined 1-8 with a walk is not important. Can you imagine watching an All-Star Game where a Royal batted in almost every inning?
In 1978, four Royals batted, with Brett coming up four times and Freddie Patek three, plus one each from White and Porter. In 1976, Brett, Hal McRae and Amost Otis all got swings and Patek played in the field. Heck, the 1973 Royals sent three batters to the plate (Cookie Rojas, John Mayberry and Otis) for a combined seven plate appearances. Three more batted in 1972 (Rojas, who got the Royals' first All-Star hit, and Lou Piniella, bet you can't name the third). Rojas and Otis both got to the plate in 1971 and Otis got three at-bats in 1970.
Names out of the past, long lost glory. Here's hoping we look back on this decade and write at least a couple of paragraphs on Kansas City hitters and what they accomplished in All-Star Games to come.
By the way, the other 1972 All-Star? Richie Scheinblum.