The Kansas City-San Francisco connection: what's up with these quarterbacks?
49ers legend Joe Montana was on hand to throw out the first pitch before Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday night and everything was going peachy.
Until Travis Ishikawa's walk-off dinger sent the Giants to the World Series to face the Royals.
Why is that a problem, you ask? Because Joe Montana played for both the 49ers and the Chiefs and there is a little known rule on the books that says "Joe Montana can pitch in relief in the World Series for any team that's from a city he played for." That's a huge conflict of interests.
Turns out, Montana isn't the only connection between San Francisco and Kansas City:
- Two current Giants, Jeremy Affeldt and Gregor Blanco, are former Royals. Affeldt pitched for the Royals from 2002-06 while Blanco played for Kansas City in 2010.
- Jonathan Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter for the Giants on July 10, 2009 and was a member of the 2010 World Series champions team, was traded to the Royals on Nov. 7, 2011.
- Current Padres manager Bud Black pitched for both the Royals and Giants. Black won 56 games with the Royals between 1982-88 and won 34 more with the Giants between '91-94. Meanwhile, current A's manager Bob Melvin was a catcher with the Giants from 1986-88 and the Royals in 1992.
- Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera also played for both teams. Cabrera spent a year with Kansas City in 2011 before joining the Giants in 2012.
- The pitcher with the most career rWAR to come from Missouri? Why, none other than New York Giants Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell. Hubbell went 253-154 with 67.8 rWAR.
- Gaylord Perry pitched for the Giants from 1962-71 before spending the final season of his Hall of Fame career with the Royals in 1983.
- Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda followed a similar career path. He played for the Giants for nine years, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1958, before being traded to Kansas City's neighbors, the Cardinals. He would eventually finish his career with the Royals in 1974.
- The University of San Francisco won their first NCAA men's basketball title in 1955 in a game held at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. The game featured future NBA Hall of Famers Bill Russell and K.C. -- not standing for Kansas City -- Jones.
- After USF won their second title in 1956, the Kansas Jayhawks snapped the Dons' streak in 1957, defeating the team 80-56 in the semifinals. Lawrence is 40 miles from Kansas City, so we're counting that as close enough. Since then, the Jayhawks have won two titles while USF hasn't reached the Final Four.
- While Russell starred for the University of San Francisco, his greatest rival, Wilt Chamberlain, was a Jayhawk.
- Brett Bochy, the son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy who made his big league debut with the Giants earlier this season, is also a University of Kansas alum.
But, perhaps oddest of all is the quarterback connection between the two towns. Because it's not restricted to just Joe Montana. No, this conspiracy runs much deeper as three other quarterbacks split their time between the 49ers and the Chiefs.
Steve Bono was the backup quarterback to Montana for the 49ers from 1989-'93, then followed the Hall of Famer to Kansas City from '94-96.
After Bono left, Elvis Grbac took over. Grbac played in San Francisco from 1994-96 before heading to Arrowhead Stadium from '97-2000.
And current Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith joined the team in 2013 after being traded from the 49ers, the team that drafted him in '05.
Finally, there's Blaine Gabbert, the 49ers current backup quarterback. He was drafted from, where else, the University of Missouri.