Update: Willie Aikens tells of his reunion with his AL Championship ring 33 years after it was stolen
Named after one of the greatest players in baseball history, first baseman Willie Mays Aikens (who has since dropped the Mays) hit 110 home runs with an .809 OPS across an eight-year career.
In 1980, Aikens was a big part of the AL champion Royals' run to the World Series. Aikens was second on the team with 20 homers and 98 RBIs -- to George Brett. Though the Royals lost to the Phillies in the World Series, Aikens did all he could, hitting .400 with four home runs with eight RBIs.
As AL pennant winners, the Royals were given some sweet-looking jewelry. But in 1981, Aikens' ring was stolen. As he told the Hall of Very Good:
"I last saw it in 1981 before I went to visit my mother in South Carolina. When I got back home, somebody had broken into my apartment and stolen my ring. The last time I saw it was 33 years ago."
On Christmas Eve, Aikens received a great gift:
I just got back my 1980 World Series ring last night. It was stolen in 1981. Thanks to my dear friend Kim. pic.twitter.com/Bm72m3ABl9- Willie Mays Aikens (@WAikens) December 25, 2014
Aikens' friend, Kim Accurso, heard that the ring had been sitting in a Kansas City pawn shop. After tracking it down and talking to the owner, she was able to get the ring back to its rightful owner.
The ring was returned to Aikens in 2014, coincidentally the year the Royals were AL champs once again.