The Kansas City Royals had been associated with greatness before a long period of dormancy. Which of their former stars comprise the franchise Mount Rushmore?
There had been a time when the Kansas City Royals were considered the best run franchise in baseball. They came to be known for their innovation, creating a baseball academy in southern Florida to teach great athletes how to play the game. In doing so, they uncovered a few future major league players, with Frank White, UL Washington, and Jeff Cox all coming from the academy.
Shortly after becoming a franchise in 1969, they began their ascension to baseball royalty. The Royals reached the postseason for the first time in 1976, and remained perennial contenders for the next decade. Although they ran into the Yankees dynasty from the late 1970s, they made the World Series twice. Finally, in 1985, with the help of Don Denkinger, the Royals broke through, bringing a championship to Kansas City.
Afterwards, the Royals endured a long, hard break from the postseason. Although Ewing Kauffman continued to pour money into the franchise, they were unable to return to the postseason. Then, after his passing, the Royals were run for a profit, selling off every viable asset. From 1995 through 2012, the Royals had just one winning season. The formerly proud franchise had become a laughingstock.
However, towards the latter part of that streak, the Royals were starting to build a foundation. Players like Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and Eric Hosmer began to develop. They build a formidable bullpen with the Cerberus of Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera. In 2013, they finally had a winning record, leaving the fan base cautiously optimistic.
The following two years were what the fans had dreamed of. They made the postseason in 2014 as a Wild Card, winning a thrilling come from behind game against the A’s to advance. Then, they swept through the American League, taking the Giants to seven games before succumbing to the force that was Madison Bumgarner. However, in 2015, the Royals played with a chip on their shoulder, literally fighting everyone as they returned to the postseason. This time, they finished the job, defeating the Mets in five games to bring home a second World Series title.
Since then, the Royals have been unable to return to the playoffs. Last season was a lost year, as the team never seemed to recover from the tragic passing of young pitcher Yordano Ventura. Now, with several players on the free agent market, the Royals are at a crossroads. Will their window to compete remain open, or is it time to embark upon another rebuild?
For today, we will just look back into the past, without worrying about the future. Let us take a look at the Kansas City Royals Mount Rushmore.