The most comical moments in Royals history

November 24th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- A look at the five most comical moments in Royals history:

1. Norichika Aoki takes one in a bad place
May 30, 2014

There were plenty of comical moments during Aoki’s brief stay with the Royals, so it’s not necessarily easy to pick a No. 1. Remember when he knocked himself over by swinging on a pitch that hit him? But few Royals fans will forget the time in Toronto when Aoki was hustling toward foul territory in right field to grab a slicing fly ball. Aoki slid feet first trying to make the play, and it hit him in a very vulnerable place.

2. Ken Harvey takes one in the back
July 4, 2004

Much like Aoki, former Royals first baseman Harvey was pretty much a highlight reel of bloopers. There was the time that Harvey was chasing a foul ball and got swallowed up by the tarp roller so badly that he had to be rescued by manager Tony Peña. Or the time he charged a slow roller from first base and tried to throw home to cut down a runner but instead nailed his pitcher, Jason Grimsley, right in the chest -- luckily both players were OK. Then there was the Fourth of July in 2004 in San Diego when the Padres’ Khalil Greene hit a fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning to right to Royals outfielder Matt Stairs, who lasered a throw home to try to catch a runner tagging from third. Harvey positioned himself as the relay man, turned his back and took a knee. The throw hit him squarely in the back.

"I've never seen that happen before," Peña said. "I don't know that the throw would have gotten him, but it was on line."

3. Hey, you can’t do that
May 27, 1981

As Royals team historian Curt Nelson notes, there was some extreme levity in the top of the sixth inning in the Kingdome when Royals outfielder Amos Otis chopped a roller up the third-base line. Suddenly, Mariners third baseman Lenny Randle got down on his hands and knees and tried to blow the baseball into foul territory. It worked. Randle's explanation that he was merely yelling at the baseball was initially convincing, until Royals manager Jim Frey argued the call. After the play was initially called a foul ball, the umpiring crew ruled that Otis should be awarded a hit, relying on the rule stating a player cannot alter the course of the batted baseball.

4. George Brett gets picked off after No. 3,000
Sept. 30, 1992

With a nagging shoulder injury, it wasn’t certain whether future Hall of Famer George Brett would even play on this night. He was at 2,996 hits and wanted to reach 3,000 before the season ended. Brett played through the pain and miraculously delivered four hits, the final one coming in the seventh inning off Angels reliever Tim Fortugno on a vicious one-hopper past the second baseman. The crowd at Angels Stadium saluted him, fireworks went off and Brett tipped his cap to the crowd.

But one batter later, Brett was caught napping at first base and was picked off, which brought laughter from both dugouts and the stands, including from Brett’s wife, Leslie, as shown on the highlights. The first baseman who applied the tag was Gary Gaetti, who later became a Royal.

5. The stolen uniforms caper
June 12, 1977

Thieves had broken into the Royals' clubhouse after a night game on June 11 at Milwaukee County Stadium and walked off with 52 of the Royals’ 60 jerseys, 20 caps, 20 gloves, 15 jackets and 10 pairs of shoes, according to The Milwaukee Sentinel story of the heist. The estimated value of the stolen goods back then was $3,500. Scrambling to make do for their June 12 day game, the Royals wound up wearing a hodge-podge of what was left of their jerseys, as well as anything the Brewers could offer, according to Nelson. The result was funny and weird:

• Brett and Hal McRae both wore No. 5 -- McRae’s was a Brewers’ No. 5. No one knew Brett would eventually become a Hall of Famer back then, but they didn’t steal his uniform?

• Amos Otis wore a Brewers’ No. 2 jersey, which belonged to Brewers manager Alex Grammas. According to Nelson, Otis joked that he requested the Brewers’ No. 44, which belonged to Hank Aaron and was on display inside the stadium.

• Royals skipper Whitey Herzog wore no jersey at all and just wore a Royals coat.

• Former Brewers pitcher Jim Colburn took the mound for the Royals and later quipped, “I’ve heard some funny stories, like you can’t tell the players [apart] without a scorecard -- or with one [in this case].”