Baseball returned for a full season this year, and even though the game tried to deaden the ball to limit home runs, there were still the fourth-most home runs hit in baseball history. The Royals hit 163 home runs, third-most in club history (behind only 1987 and 2017) and yet still finished dead last in the league.
With all those home runs, let’s look back at some of the best the Royals smacked out of the ballpark this season.
April 17 - Salvy walk-off against Toronto
A lot of Royals home runs this season came from one man - Salvador Perez. He’s had a knack for clutch hits and walk-off wins, and that came together in the second game of an early doubleheader against Toronto in April. The Royals went into the bottom of the seventh (the last inning in a doubleheader this season) tied 2-2, trying to earn a split in the twin-bill. Salvy faced future teammate Joel Payamps and promptly deposited one into the fountains for a 459-foot shot to win the game.
The win would spur the Royals to win eight of their next twelve games to vault to the best record in baseball in April.
June 18 - Mondesi smacks one into Rivals bar
We didn’t see a lot of Adalberto Mondesi due to injury, but when we did see him, he tantalized us once more with his talent. He didn’t play his first game until late May, and when he faced Nick Pivetta and the Red Sox on June 18, it was just his ninth game of the season.
But Mondesi showed why the Royals still believe in him, ripping a ball 464 feet, hurtling through the Rivals bar in right field.
Waiter, there’s a home run ball in my soup!
July 26 - Jorge Soler crushes one
It was a disappointing start to the season for Jorge Soler in Kansas City, but by the summer he began to heat up. In a game against the White Sox in late July, he absolutely crushed one over the batter’s eye in centerfield, a 449-foot blast.
He would homer again later in the game, perhaps giving teams a reason to be interested in him at the trade deadline. A few days later, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves.
August 19 - Nicky goes yard
What a season for Nicky Lopez! The 26-year old infielder made the most of his opportunity, cutting down on his swing and spraying the ball all over the field to become the first Royals shortstop to hit .300. That came at the expense of power, but Nicky was not dinger-less this season. In an August game against Houston, Nicky muscled up and smacked it 381 feet for a home run, just the fourth of his career.
A few weeks later, Nicky would homer again, tying his career-high....with two home runs in a season.
August 27 - Salvy’s Sonic Slam
For years, the Sonic restaurant chain has awarded $25,000 to a contestant if a Royals batter hits a grand slam in the sixth inning or “Sonic Slam inning.” Salvy became the tenth player to hit a “Sonic Slam” against Mariners pitcher Joe Smith on August 27.
The next night, Salvy hit another grand slam, becoming the 25th player to hit grand slams on back-to-back days. It gave the Royals grand slams in three consecutive games, just the sixth time that has happened in baseball history.
September 20 - Salvy breaks the home run record for catchers
Salvy may have been overlooked by ESPN at the Home Run Derby, but in the second half, he could not be ignored. No one in baseball hit more home runs after the All-Star break than his 27. So much for the Derby messing up his swing.
Late in the season, he approached Johnny Bench’s 1970 record for most home runs by a catcher. On September 20, he broke the record in Cleveland with a 429-foot home run off Triston McKenzie.
Okay, so it’s not the “official record”, but c’mon, he has hit the most home runs in a season by anyone that has played catcher.
September 29- Salvy ties the single-season club home run record
Remember the Curse of Balboni? The Royals single-season home run record that stood for over 30 years has fallen twice in the last four years. But with all due respect to Jorge Soler, who set a new record with 48 blasts in 2019, it is nice to have a franchise player own part of the record. Salvador Perez tied Soler’s mark with his 48th blast on September 29 against Zach Plesac.
Salvy couldn’t hit a home run in his last remaining games, but his fantastic season is still one for the ages.
What was your favorite Royals home run of the season?
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Salvy walk off
Mondesi’s blast through the bar
Soler destroys a ball over the batter’s eye
Nicky goes yard
Salvy Sonic Slam
Salvy breaks the HR record for catchers
Salvy ties the club single-season HR record