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Kansas City Royals All-Time Lineup

Best at each position, in one season, in team history


A look at the all-time starting lineup for the Kansas City Royals in the team's history. It's not a career record - it's taken from the best season any player had at that position in team history to create a lineup.

Starting pitcher: Bret Saberhagen

Bret Saberhagen photo
Otto Greule/Getty Images

1989: 23-6, 2.16 ERA, 262.1 IP, 209 H, 193 Ks, 0.961 WHIP

Rest of the rotation: Zack Greinke (2009, 16-8, 2.16 ERA, 229.1 IP, 195 H, 242 Ks, 1.073 WHIP); David Cone (1994, 16-5, 2.94 ERA, 171.2 IP, 130 H, 132 Ks, 1.072 WHIP); Dennis Leonard (1977, 20-12, 3.04 ERA, 292.2 IP, 246 H, 244 Ks, 1.110 WHIP); Mark Gubicza (1988, 20-8, 2.70 ERA, 269.2 IP, 237 H, 183 Ks, 1.187 WHIP)

The Royals built their best teams of the 1970s and 1980s behind great starting pitching, the best of which was probably Saberhagen, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who had his best season in 1989, leading the American League in wins and ERA. There are two other Cy Young seasons in the rotation in Greinke and Cone, who had his Cy Young season in the strike-shortened 1994 season and almost certainly would have had 20 wins if the season hadn't stopped in early August. The other two spots are filled by 20-game winners who spent a lot of time in Royals rotations in Leonard and Gubicza.

Catcher: Darrell Porter

1979: .291, 20 HR, 112 RBI, .905 OPS

Backup: Mike Macfarlane (1993, .273, 20 HR, 67 RBI, .857 OPS)

Porter was the backstop on Kansas City teams that won the AL West in four out of five seasons from 1976 to 1980. His best season came in 1979, when he finished ninth in MVP voting. The backup is from the 1990s in Macfarlane, who had good power for a catcher.

First baseman: Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney photo
Dave Kaup/Getty Images

2000: .333, 29 HR, 144 RBI, .930 OPS

Backup: John Mayberry (1975, .291, 34 HR, 106 RBI, .963 OPS)

A really tough call between the starter and the backup here. Sweeney was solid for several seasons and was 11th in MVP voting in 2000. Mayberry was second in MVP voting in 1975, an era when the offense was a little surpressed, but we'll still go with Sweeney based on the 144 RBI.

Second baseman: Frank White

Frank White photo
Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

1982: .298, 11 HR, 56 RBI, .788 OPS

Backup: Jose Offerman (1998, .315, 7 HR, 66 RBI, 45 SB, .841 OPS)

White is the gold standard for Kansas City second baseman, excelling at the plate and in the field, winning, Gold Gloves eight times in his career, including in 1982. The backup is Offerman, who was not known as a great fielder, but was an above-average hitter with plenty of speed.

Shortstop: Angel Berroa

Angel Berroa photo
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

2003: .287, 17 HR, 73 RBI, 21 SB, .789 OPS

Backup: U.L. Washington (1982, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 23 SB, .750 OPS)

Another tough call between two shortstops who had success early but faded rather quickly. Berroa was AL Rookie of the Year in 2003, and Washington -- the signature toothpick hanging out of his mouth -- was a part of some perennial winners.

Third baseman: George Brett

George Brett photo
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

1980: .390, 24 HR, 118 RBI, 1.118 OPS

Backup: Kevin Seitzer (1987, .323, 15 HR, 83 RBI, .869 OPS)

The easiest selection perhaps of any player on any team. Brett is the franchise's all-time best player, and he had a season for the ages in 1980, winning the second of his three batting titles. It was no doubt one of the best seasons for any hitter in baseball history, and he was named AL MVP. The backup is a tough call, but we'll go with the man who replaced him at third base in his rookie season in Seitzer.

Left fielder: Willie Wilson

Willie Wilson photo
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

1980: .326, 3 HR, 49 RBI, 79 SB, .778 OPS

Backup: Alex Gordon (2011, .303, 23 HR, 87 RBI, .879 OPS)

Another close call, but this team needs a leadoff man, and there were few better than Wilson in his time, who was also a great fielder who was fourth in MVP voting and won a Gold Glove for the pennant-winning Royals in 1980. The backup is from a recent era in Gordon, who just gets past phenom Bo Jackson's solid 1989 season.

Center fielder: Amos Otis

1978: .298, 22 HR, 96 RBI, 32 SB, .905 OPS

Backup: Carlos Beltran (2003, .307, 26 HR, 100 RBI, 41 SB, .911 OPS)

Another close call, but we'll go with a player from an era when offense wasn't as potent as what the average player produced in the early 2000s. Otis finished fourth in MVP voting in 1978 and also was a Gold Glove fielder. Beltran obviously was no slouch, he didn't win any Gold Gloves until he moved on to the Mets.

Right fielder: Jermaine Dye

Jermaine Dye photo
Matthew Stockman/Allsport

2000: .321, 33 HR, 118 RBI, .951 OPS

Backup: Al Cowens (1977, .312, 23 HR, 112 RBI, .885 OPS)

Another close one. Both Dye and Cowens won Gold Gloves in their best seasons in Kansas City, but Dye was just a little more potent with the bat, even if offensive numbers were a little inflated in 2000 compared to 1977, when Cowens was second in the AL MVP voting.

Designated hitter: Billy Butler

Billy Butler photo
Tim Umphrey/Getty Images

2012: .313, 29 HR, 107 RBI, .882 OPS

Backup: Hal McRae (1976, .332, 8 HR, 73 RBI, 22 SB, .868 OPS)

The Royals have been more successful than most teams at getting production out of the designated hitter spots. Butler splits his time between first base and DH and has become one of the top hitters in the American League, and McCrae certainly fit that bill in the 1970s and early 1980s. McRae was fourth in the MVP voting in 1976.

Closer: Dan Quisenberry

1983: 5-3, 1.94 ERA, 45 saves, 139 IP, 118 H, 48 Ks, 0.928 WHIP)

Backup: Jeff Montgomery (1993, 7-5, 2.27 ERA, 45 saves, 87.1 IP, 65 H, 66 Ks, 1.008 WHIP)

Submariner Quisenberry was one of the top closers in the game in the 1980s, and he was second in Cy Young voting in 1983. For the backup, it's a tough call between Montgomery and Joakim Soria, but we'll go with Montgomery.

Batting order

  1. LF Willie Wilson
  2. CF Amos Otis
  3. 3B George Brett
  4. 1B Mike Sweeney
  5. DH Billy Butler
  6. RF Jermaine Dye
  7. C Darrell Porter
  8. SS Angel Berroa
  9. 2B Frank White
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