Success is hard. If it was easy, well, we wouldn’t applaud it so much. But success is any field can be quite difficult. It takes talent, but also a fair amount of good luck. Many things can derail us from success, whether they be personal problems, health problems, or own immaturity or inabilities.
Baseball can be perhaps harsher than many other fields because your success or failure can be summed up on the back of a baseball card. That doesn’t tell the whole story of course. The Twitter account at a fellow SB Nation site, Fake Teams, asked an interesting question - who do you wish had enjoyed more success than he did?
Who's the one guy you wish would've succeeded in the MLB but it just didn't work out for him?— Fake Teams (@faketeams) March 5, 2019
I don’t want to besmirch the career of any of these guys. It is HARD to even make it to professional baseball, let alone have great success at it. The fact these guys even reached the minors or Major League level means they are in the one percent of the one percent of baseball players in the world.
But I’m sure most players dream of being an All-Star, enjoying a World Series, having sustained Major League success. I asked people on Twitter, who did they wish had more success?
Disco Hayes— Tim Webber (@HelloTimWebber) March 5, 2019
Chris “Disco” Hayes was a submarining reliever the Royals signed out of the independent league in 2005. He put up good numbers and got as high as AAA, but never got a taste of big league action. He seemed like a fun guy and submariners are awesome, so it would have been great to see him at least get a shot at pitching in Kauffman Stadium.
Kila Ka’aihue— Cole Carmody (@ColeCarmody52) March 5, 2019
Kila is probably a Royals Review Hall of Famer as a guy many on here advocated for many years while the club was messing around with guys like Mike Jacobs. Kila hit .314/.456/.628 with 104 walks and 37 home runs for AA Northwest Arkansas and AAA Omaha in 2008, then was Omaha’s best hitter the next two seasons, waiting for a chance in Kansas City. He got an extended look in 2010, but with mixed results, and was the starting first baseman to begin the 2011 season before Eric Hosmer was called up for good. Kila never really put up much of a Major League career, but he was a AAA terror for many years.
Bo Jackson, wouldn’t say didn’t work out, but love to see his career without the football injury— Chris Bell (@Osubarry) March 5, 2019
It seems weird to say you would like an All-Star Game MVP to have had a better career, but with Bo it feels like we were robbed of seeing more. There were certainly flaws to his game and he was a bit raw as a player, but Bo had unearthly talent and gave us a highlight reel performance every night. It would have been interesting to see what he could have done with a full career.
Dee Brown— Tyler H (@th8_) March 5, 2019
Dee Brown was an absolute beast in the minors. The former first-rounder hit .331/.436/.570 with 25 home runs and 30 steals between A Wilmington and AA Wichita back in 1999 and was ranked the 11th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America. Brown got a few chances with the Royals, hitting .233/.280/.333 in 271 big league games. Once he was back in the minors at age 28, well past prospect status, Joe Posnanski, then of the Kansas City Star, penned an excellent piece looking at what happened. The Royals had not handled Brown particularly well, but Brown bore a lot of responsibility as well for being immature.
“I know I didn’t do everything right. I know I made mistakes. But man, I can’t help it, sometimes I look around and think, “What happened?””
It was too bad, because he was the kind of five-tool player the Royals really could have used in those days.
Ed Hearn. From all accounts he sounds like a good guy who just couldn't stay healthy after the trade with the Mets.— Sean Thornton (@SeanThornton5) March 5, 2019
This is a great answer. Hearn became a whipping boy in Kansas City for being the return in the ill-advised David Cone trade back in 1986. But at the time, the trade made sense. Cone was a wild reliever in an organization stocked with pitching, while Hearn was a young promising catcher, and the Royals badly needed catching. Injuries robbed Hearn of having much of a career and the pressure of being “the guy we got for David Cone” took a toll on Hearn, even putting him to the point of considering suicide. Eventually Hearn overcame his depression and a kidney disease and became an inspirational speaker and by all accounts is a great guy who certainly deserved a better career.
What about you? Who do you wish had achieved more success as a big leaguer, on the Royals or otherwise?