So, during this quarantine, I have been really diving into baseball history, with Royals baseball history being the primary one. As someone who did not grow up in the Kansas City-area, being able to uncover more about the Royals and the franchise’s rich heritage has been a hoot, especially when it comes to looking up those rich years during the late 70’s and 80’s.
Because of that, I have kind of dove in head first when it comes to baseball history and research. And one way I have done that is by joining the KC-Monarch chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. Yep. I’m officially a member of SABR, and one of the first things I have done is start reading “Kansas City Royals: A Royal Tradition“. I have liked what I have read so much (you get e-publications from the SABR library for free) that I actually ordered a physical copy so I can go into more depth and use it as a reference.
However, I have been inspired by the work and research of those authors in “A Royal Tradition”, as well as other pieces available on the SABR library. And thus, I wanted to be able to have a series where I could profile players in Royals history, especially those whose time in Kansas City may get overlooked or underappreciated.
And that’s where the Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten” came to be.
The Royals “Hal of Not Forgotten” is a modest project where I will profile the history of certain players in Royals history which will span from their early beginnings to the current day, as faithful as possible. The Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten” is geared toward players who most likely will be overlooked by casual Royals fans. These are not Alex Gordon’s or Salvador Perez’s, players who are just counting the days before they garner spots in the Royals “Hall of Fame.” These are players who may have had limited tenures in Kansas City, but deserve some kind of recognition or remembrance for who they were and what they did as Royals.
I want to say that it’s easy in baseball blogging to be “mean spirited,” especially in regard to players who may have not lived up to expectations. I love Deadspin and Barstool as much as the next baseball fan (well…not Barstool as much, but you get the idea). I want to call out players or management when they don’t step up to the plate. That being said, the point of this series is to be appreciative and look at these particular Royals in a positive, yet objective light. Furthermore, I want statistics and data to back up these posts and let as little of my bias pour through these as well. Think of these more as “research essays” rather than “blog posts” on these particular players in Royals history.
How the Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten” will work is that I will select two players from each year in Royals history. Here is the criteria for the selection:
- It will consist of no more than 1 pitcher and 1 hitter.
- They cannot be Royals “Hall of Fame” members or be possible Royals “Hall of Fame” members.
- They had to have some kind of positive contribution to the Royals either that season or over their careers in Kansas City.
I will start the series with 2014, and carry on until 2019. So that’s basically a 6-year span which will consist of 12 Royals players overall who be profiled and inducted in the Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten”. Every season I will take a look at a different 6-year span, though that could be random. Next season (2021) could look at 2008-2013, or it could be 1980-1985. It all depends how I feel or where the wind takes me, I guess.
I decided on 2014 because it’s a significant year for modern Royals fans. 2014 helped modern sports fans in Kansas City who were born post-1985 to the fold in terms of enjoying competitive Royals baseball, which didn’t really occur post-1994. Yes, 2013 was a great season as well, as it marked the first step in the Dayton Moore-era of the Royals competing. And 2003 was a nice surprise in the middle of two stretches of extended losing. But 2014…the AL Pennant…that helped Kansas City be a baseball town again for at least a few more seasons.
The 2014 Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten” will look at two inductees: pitcher Aaron Crow and designated hitter Billy Butler. Both were one-time All-Stars (Crow in 2011 and Butler in 2012). Both were players who had positive careers in Kansas City, but didn’t quite live up to “Hall of Fame” status. And lastly, both players will often get overlooked for their contributions to the Royals during their tenures, as Royals fans will remember HDH and even Kendrys Morales over Crow and Butler, respectively.
In tomorrow’s post, I will look at Crow and over the weekend, I will write a post on Butler. They both have complex, but rich histories as Royals, and players in general that ought to be understood and honestly celebrated by Royals fans everywhere, especially during this time as baseball still remains dormant in America.
So that’s a brief synopsis on the Royals “Hall of Not Forgotten” project here on this blog: a weird, ambitious personal project that satiates the inner baseball nerd inside of me.
I hope this series and project can pay proper tribute to not just SABR baseball nerds, but Kansas City Royals fans as well.