An All-Time Raised Royal Lineup

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

All-time Royals lineups have been done plenty of times. Heck, sportswriter Rob Neyer wrote a whole book of all-time team lineups, and I myself wrote a pair of FanPosts on this very site to discuss if a dozen additional years of baseball have changed any of his selections. Almost invariably the result will look little different from the starting lineup of the Royals from 1976-1980 combined with the rotation of 1984-1985. This, therefore, will mix it up a little. This is an all-time lineup of Royals who were born in Royals territory. (For some of them, it was Blues, Monarchs or Athletics territory at the time)

(I couldn't resist the "Raised Royal" title, but sadly, only lists players by birthplace, not by "raised-place.")

As it turns out, very few players who have played for the Royals were born in the Kansas City metro area itself, and a disproportionate number of them have been pitchers. But if we expand the definition of Royals territory to include any area with a Royals Radio Affiliate nearby (Freneau, you continue to inspire us here at Royals Review) and fudge a little in the definition of "nearby", a lineup can take shape, not necessarily composed entirely of all-time greats, but at least partially, with the rest filled in by people who have legitimately played the given position in a Royals uniform.

Catcher - Darrell Porter Famously situated on Route 66, Joplin, Missouri does not have a Royals Radio Affiliate of its own, but the western Missouri town is likely well-served by KGLC-FM out of Miami, OK, or KKOW-AM out of Pittsburg, KS and is clearly within Royals territory. It was in this town that Porter, who represented the Royals in the All-Star Game for three out of his four seasons with the team, was born. He had a .271/.375/.435 slash line between 1977 and 1980, his best year coming in 1979, when he hit .291 with 20 home runs and 112 RBI, and drew 121 walks, second by one to John Mayberry for the Royals single-season record. He is the 23rd greatest Royal of all time.

First Base - Gail Hopkins 1971 was the best year for this native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is less than 100 miles from the Miami, OK, where Royals games are broadcast on KGLC-FM. He started the lion's share of the Royals' games at first base and hit .278, drawing 37 walks (although 9 of those were intentional) against only 13 strikeouts. He played an additional 127 games for the Royals over the next two years before being released at the end of Spring Training 1974.

Second Base - Bobby Knoop An All-Star with the Angels five years prior to his Royals debut, this native of Sioux City, Iowa, a city 55 miles away (and closer to Kansas City than) Cherokee, IA, where all ears are riveted to KCHE-AM during baseball season, manned the keystone for 80 games between 1971 and 1972.

Shortstop - Jerry Adair The starting second baseman in the Royals' very first game and most of the team's inaugural year would have been a better choice for second base on this team, but he's the only player at all born within our dubious definition of Royals territory who played even a single game at shortstop. Born in Sand Spring, Oklahoma, just outside of Tulsa and like Tulsa, less than 100 miles from Royals Radio Affiliate KGLC-FM out of Miami,OK, he was under contract to the Red Sox when the Royals selected him in the expansion draft. He played 8 games at short toward the end of 1969, during which time he went hitless in only one of those games and collected 5 of his season's 48 RBI. His .346 batting average in those 8 games would make him sound great, but it's merely an SSS at SS.

Third Base - Alex Gordon His best performances were in left field, but such are the quirks of composing an oddball lineup. The Lincoln, Nebraska native no doubt listened to Royals games on KFOR AM or FM when not composing toasts for Brian Duensing's future wedding. He was drafted as a third baseman and spent his first 3+ years as a Royal, from 2007 through April of 2010, logging 329 games at the hot corner. His time there was passable, if not spectacular enough for a 2nd-overall draft pick, but was still better and longer than anyone else who lived within Royals-listening range. (He is no doubt among the 100 greatest Royals of all time now, but had not yet debuted when the Royals Review top-100 list was compiled.)

Left Field - Bob Detherage As cups of coffee go, the one drunk by this native of Springfield, Missouri, where Royals games can be heard on KICK AM or FM, was a freshly ground dark roast. Called upon to provide outfield help in early 1980 when center fielder Amos Otis was out with a hand injury suffered during Spring Training, he split time evenly between the corner outfield spots, hitting .308 and slugging .500 in 20 games, 11 of which had him in left field for at least some innings.

Center Field - Johnny Damon Commonly thought of as a left fielder because that's where he played when he, Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye comprised an excellent Royals outfield, he actually played almost twice as many games in center field as in left between 1995 and 2000. The speedy native of Fort Riley, Kansas, within earshot of Royals broadcasts on KJCK-AM out of Junction City, KS, led the league in stolen bases while hitting .327 in 2000, part of an overall .292 batting average he compiled before being traded to the Athletics for (in part) future Rookie of the Year Angel Berroa. He is the 21st greatest Royal of all time.

Right Field - Darryl Motley Muskogee, Oklahoma is, like Tulsa and Sand Spring, a bit of a stretch to consider Royals territory due to its being within a 100-mile radius of Miami, OK, home of Royals Radio Affiliate KGLC-FM, but how could we not stretch the definition in order to include the man who hit the go-ahead home run and caught the last out of Game 7 of the 1985 World Series? Overall, he played 236 games in right field for the Royals between 1981 and 1986, and while never spectacular, hit .284 with 17 home runs in the Royals' AL West Championship season of 1984.

Designated Hitter - Kit Pellow The only remaining player within our geographical range who played any time at all in a Royals uniform at DH, he at least was born in Kansas City, Missouri itself (home, needless to say, of the Royals' flagship station KCSP AM), saving us the trouble of stretching the definition of Royals territory at the same time that we stretch the definition of playing DH. A corner infielder in most of his 29 games with the team in 2002, he was installed in the DH slot in 4 games, failing badly at the role to the tune of 1 hit in 15 at-bats (though overall he hit .238 as a Royal).

Starting Pitcher - David Cone Born in Kansas City, Missouri, the near-Hall-of-Famer was drafted by the Royals and had a September call-up in 1986 and was then traded to the Mets. He came back as a free agent in 1993 and struck out 191 batters, good for 9th all-time on the Royals single-season strikeout leader board, and had a 3.33 ERA. He was even better the following season, when he had a 2.94 ERA and a win-loss record of 16-5, earning him selection to the All-Star team and the Cy Young award in a season cut short by labor unrest. He was traded away that off-season, after which he continued a brilliant career that included a perfect game. His time as a Royal was brief, but is the best of any Royals starting pitcher born in the KC area, much less the city itself. He is the 52nd greatest Royal of all time.

Relief Pitcher - Steve Mingori Also a native of Kansas City, Missouri, he pitched middle relief for the Royals from 1973 through 1979, never (except in his final year) allowing more than 3.1 earned runs per nine innings. In the Royals' first championship year, 1976, he completed half the games he appeared in and earned 10 saves, with a Royals-career-best 2.32 ERA. He is the 62nd greatest Royal of all time.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.