George Brett's KC-record hit streak broken

Royals utility man emotional after surpassing Brett for club mark

April 11th, 2019

KANSAS CITY -- What a perfect way to enter the record books.

Royals super utility man Whit Merrifield, who prides himself on handling the bat in any situation, executed a perfect bunt down the third-base line in Wednesday night's 6-5 loss to the Mariners that not only gave him a hit, but it drove in Terrance Gore and tied the game at 5.

Merrifield now has a 31-game hitting streak, passing George Brett’s club mark of 30 set in 1980. The Royals, though, dropped their ninth straight, as Mitch Haniger hit an opposite-field home run in the top of the ninth and a furious rally in the bottom of the ninth ended with the bases loaded as Adalberto Mondesi popped out.

There was definitely drama to this one, too, as Merrifield had gone 0-for-3 before the at-bat, and there was uncertainty as to whether he would get a fifth at-bat.

Merrifield said he noticed third baseman Ryon Healy playing a little deep in his previous at-bat.

“Had flashbacks of high school,” Merrifield said. “I remembered that dad would take his hat off and rub his hair to give me a signal, and South Carolina coach Ray Tanner would rub his nose to signal. I used to bunt a lot when I was young, because I couldn’t drive the ball, so those young years paid off.”

Said Royals manager Ned Yost, “It surprised me and it surprised them. It was a perfect bunt. Whit doesn’t bunt that much, but he laid down a beauty.”

After the game, Merrifield tried to put in perspective what he accomplished with the record.

“To do something nobody in the history of this franchise has done,” Merrifield said, “[and surpass] one of the greatest players of all time who played for this franchise for a long time, it’s kind of surreal. I don’t even really know how to describe the emotions and the feelings I have going on right now.

“Not many guys in the history of the game have gotten to this point. It’s crazy to think about, it really is.”

Merrifield got a tremendous hand from an enthusiastic crowd which gave him loud ovations each time he stepped to the plate.

Brett, who was on hand Wednesday night, told on Tuesday that he was rooting for Merrifield to break his record.

“He deserves it,” Brett said. “He’s a good kid. He’s worked hard to get here. I like watching him play.”

And on Tuesday night, Brett delivered a handwritten note to Merrifield, encouraging him to break the record.

“I asked [the Royals] to laminate it for me,” Merrifield said. “I will put it in a special place in my home. To have one of the greatest players of all-time writing a handwritten letter saying nice things about you, that doesn’t happen every day.”

Merrifield’s streak, which started last Sept. 10, is the longest in the Majors since Dan Uggla had a 33-game streak in 2011 for the Braves.