Eric Hosmer has officially left the Royals, but memories of him in Kansas City will last forever. Hosmer burst onto the scene in 2011 with sky-high expectations, and his debut market a new era of Royals baseball. While his career had its ups and downs, his best moments came at the biggest moments. Let’s look back on the biggest clutch performances of Eric Hosmer’s Royals career.
First home run in Yankee Stadium
Dayton Moore talks about the promotion of Hosmer as the point when the franchise “flipped the switch” to a younger generation of players. Hosmer made his Royals debut on May 6, 2011 against the A’s, going 0-for-2 with two walks. That first week, the team traveled to Yankee Stadium in New York. Before a big crowd that included his parents, Hosmer blasted a pitch from A.J. Burnett into the second deck for his first Major League home run.
Walk-off homer against and old friend
Last August, the Royals faced off against old friend Greg Holland, then a member of the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies led 4-3, but Holland was shaky, putting two runners on. With two outs, Hosmer stepped to the plate an absolutely destroyed a pitch, ending the game triumphantly.
Homer for the U-S-A
Eric got the chance to represent his country in the 2016 World Baseball Classic. Manager Jim Leyland drew some criticism for starting Hosmer over Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt, but Hosmer rewarded Leyland’s faith in him by hitting .385 with this game-winning home run against Venezuela.
The cherry on top of the comeback in Houston
Hos certainly had his part to play in the amazing comeback in Game 4 of the 2015 American League Divisional Series against the Astros. He was the fifth consecutive single in the inning, and his RBI made it 6-3, Houston. It was his run that gave the Royals the lead, when Alex Gordon grounded out to second. But it was his 452-foot home run the next inning that was the gut punch to the Astros to finish them off.
Hosmer the All-Star
Thanks to those ballot-stuffing Royals fans, Hosmer made his first All-Star Game in 2016, starting at first base for the American League squad. But in case anyone thought he wasn’t deserving, he went out and drove home two run, including a second inning solo home run, to take home MVP honors.
Sac fly World Series walk-off
The Royals were known for their late inning heroics, and that continued in Game 1 of the 2015 World Series against the Mets. After Alex Gordon tied the game in the ninth with a home run, the Mets and Royals battled into the 14th with the game still tied. True to their style, the Royals scraped together a rally when Alcides Escobar reached on an error and Ben Zobrist singled. After an intentional walk, Hosmer ended Game 1 with a long fly to win it for the Royals.
The blooper against the Astros
Hosmer wasn’t always orthodox in how he hit, but sometimes you have to be creative. With the Royals down 4-2 in Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series against Houston, Hosmer came up against tough lefty reliever Oliver Perez in the sixth. With Lorenzo Cain in scoring position and one out, Hosmer at the very least wanted to advance the runner. After falling behind 0-2, Hosmer pretty much just stuck his bat out - and the ball lazily fell in shallow centerfield for a base hit, good enough to score Cain and begin a rally that would eventually lead to a Royals victory.
Hosmer homer halts the Halos
The Royals found themselves up against the best team in the American League in 2014, facing the Angels in the American League Divisional Series. The Royals surprised by taking Game 1, and it was Eric Hosmer that broke a 1-1 tie in the 11th with a two-run home run that put the Royals on track for a series sweep.
Harvey wants to stay in the game to face Hosmer
Matt Harvey was cruising in Game 5 of the World Series, striking out nine hitters over the first eight shutout innings, and giving up just four hits. He was seen vociferously lobbying manager Terry Collins to leave him in for the ninth, and Harvey won that argument. He walked Lorenzo Cain to lead off the inning, and Collins left him in to face Hosmer. Hos made him pay by blasting a double to score Cain, setting up a comeback that would eventually lead to a Royals championship.
The Wild Triple in the Wild Card Game
In perhaps the most thrilling post-season game in Royals history, Hosmer had one of the biggest hits. The Royals had scratched and clawed to overcome a 7-3 deficit and force extra innings in the 2014 Wild Card Game, but the A’s had pushed through a run in the 12th to take a lead. Just two outs from elimination, Hosmer blasted a pitch off the top of the left-field wall that caused Oakland outfielders Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld to collide. The result left Hosmer at third, 90 feet from tying the game, which he would on a chopper by Christian Colón. A few batters later, Salvador Pérez
would win the game.
Single scores Cain from first
The Royals were just one win away from clinching back-to-back pennants, but their bullpen uncharacteristically blew 3-1 lead in the eighth to even the score. Lorenzo Cain led the bottom of the inning against Roberto Osuna with a walk, bringing up Hosmer. The Royals had scouted the Jays well, and when Hosmer laced a single down the right field line, that would be enough to score Cain from first to take the lead.
The Dash Home
This will go down as perhaps the most iconic play in Royals history. The Royals trailed the Mets 2-1 in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. Hosmer was at third with one out and Salvador Pérez at the plate. Salvy was jammed and blooped a one-hopper to third baseman David Wright. Wright checked Hosmer at third, and flipped it to first for the easy out. Hosmer, however, had no intention of staying at third, instead taking the biggest gamble of his career. A good throw from Lucas Duda, and the game is over, Mets win. Instead, Duda throws it away, and we get the most classic photo of Mets fans and a triumphant Hosmer. The play would lead to a Royals victory in extra innings, and their second franchise championship.