There have been several questionable personnel moves in the Dayton Moore era. From Ervin Santana to Jeff Franceour, Royals fans have had no shortage of head scratching since Dayton took over in 2006. One of the most questionable of those decisions turned out to be one of the most productive, when Moore signed Kendrys Morales to a two-year, $17 million contract back in December of 2014.
Royals fans welcomed Morales back to Kansas City this weekend for the first time since his departure. In his time in Kansas City, he smacked 52 homers and drove in 199 runs. He also left a World Series champion. Here are five of his best moments as a Royal.
Morales homers twice, drives in five in 5-0 win over the Cardinals
This was Ken’s initiation. He hit two home runs off of Cardinals starter Lance Lynn and drove in all five of the Royals runs in the 5-0 win over Kansas City’s I-70 rival.
There is nothing better than beating the Cardinals.
Morales walks-off the Braves in extras
The sole 2016 highlight to make this list. I could have thrown in this doozy of a catch he made in St. Louis, but it didn’t quite make the cut.
The Atlanta walk off was a pretty huge moment at the time. The Royals went into that Sunday afternoon at 18-19. That was May 15. They would lose just three games the rest of the month, entering June at 28-22.
They would get all the way 30-22, what would prove to be their season high of 8 games over .500, before another walk off—this time a June 2 walk-off defeat to the Indians—would seven game losing streak that would haunt them the rest of the way. Even so, the Morales walk-off was one of the bigger moments of the 2016 season.
Kendrys hits two homers in game one of the ALDS
This one is a weird one. It is the only game featured on this list that the Royals lost. And it was a playoff game. So all-in-all, it wasn’t a good game. Nobody will remember this performance in 20 years, and rightfully so. This wasn’t even Morales’ best moment from this series. However, it is still worth remembering. Morales single-handedly kept the Royals in this game.
Morales hits three home runs against the Tigers, throws in triple for good measure
What a performance. KenMo went 4-4 with three home runs, a triple and 15 total bases. It was the first time since 1991 that a Royals hitter had hit three home runs in a game. The 15 total bases was a Royals record. And most importantly, it gave us this gif.
Morales three-run homer off Dallas Keuchel seals trip to ALCS
The grand-daddy of all Kendrys Morales highlights. It is one of the most electrifying moments in Kauffman Stadium history. And outside of Alex Gordon’s Game One game-tying home run in the World Series, my favorite 2015 postseason moment.
The peak volume from the Kauffman crowd. The Kendrys strut towards first bases. The Lance McCullers throat slash at home plate. And it came off the American League Cy Young winner. Morales had quite the series against the Astros, slugging a cool .737 on the back of the three home runs on this list.
Oh, and there is one other Kendrys Morales highlight that I didn’t mention that comes from this series. I didn’t include it in the list because it was an error, but it was a pretty big deal, if I am remembering correctly.
Godspeed, Kendrys. Kansas City remembers you fondly.