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Royals enjoyed time playing with Hosmer

Duffy, Butera dub first baseman as leader, special player
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As the news of Eric Hosmer reportedly signing with the Padres settled in Sunday morning, players inside the Royals' clubhouse reflected fondly on their favorite Hosmer memories.

There was, of course, Hosmer's mad dash home from third base in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, a bold move that helped the Royals tie the Mets in the ninth inning and eventually win the game and the Series in extra innings.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As the news of Eric Hosmer reportedly signing with the Padres settled in Sunday morning, players inside the Royals' clubhouse reflected fondly on their favorite Hosmer memories.

There was, of course, Hosmer's mad dash home from third base in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, a bold move that helped the Royals tie the Mets in the ninth inning and eventually win the game and the Series in extra innings.

There was Hosmer's triple in extra innings of the 2014 American League Wild Card Game against the A's that helped launch the winning rally in perhaps the most memorable game in Kauffman Stadium history.

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There was Hosmer buying a round for all fans at a local bar in downtown Kansas City after the Royals swept the Angels in the AL Division Series in 2014 -- that tab came to around $15,000.

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There were his four AL Gold Glove Awards and his magical one-armed sweeping scoops. There was his Most Valuable Player performance in the 2016 All-Star Game.

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"Really, there are too many to remember," teammate Danny Duffy said. "But I'll just remember him as a special player, and special person and special friend."

Duffy said he has been in contact with Hosmer often this offseason.

"I told him, 'The happiness I feel for you trumps the downer I feel right now,'" Duffy said. "I told him to do what is best for his family."

Manager Ned Yost said he will hold many special memories of Hosmer, who was the Royals' first-round pick in the 2008 Draft and who slashed .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers last season.

"I was really happy when he was the MVP for the All-Star Game," Yost said. "The year before, we had so many players on the All-Star team and he lost out. That year it came down to [Mike Moustakas] or Hosmer [for the All-Star Game Final Vote] and I knew whoever we picked would win the vote.

"We picked Moose because I knew his mother was sick and I wanted her to see Moose in the All-Star Game. I think [Hosmer] got really mad at me. But when I explained why I did it, he understood. And I told him he'd be in plenty more All-Star Games anyway."

Video: Butera, Duffy and Herrera react to Hosmer departure

Catcher Drew Butera was another close friend of Hosmer's.

"He was the one guy you went to for anything," Butera said. "He always made you feel special. If you were down, you went to him. He built you up. He was a true leader on and off the field. He was a huge reason why were good for a long time."

Added Duffy, "He is one of the best human beings I've ever met. He loved Kansas City. He gave more than he took in the decade he was with the Royals."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Drew Butera, Danny Duffy