Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN and others made it nearly unanimous - Kansas City had the best farm system in baseball. Nine Royals were among Baseball America's Top 100 with an unprecedented six in the Top 20. Two of those - Eric Hosmer (8) and Mike Moustakas (9) - along with eleven other rookies made their Royals debuts in 2011.
From the field at Kauffman Stadium, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig made the official announcement that Kansas City would host the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.
When you've been a third baseman in college, the minors and into the big leagues, a change to the outfield isn't always a smooth transition. But that's what Alex Gordon did in 2011 with such skill that he became the fifth Royals outfielder to win a Gold Glove for defensive excellence. Gordon also set a club record and led the American League with 20 outfield assists.
Major League Baseball dates back to 1869 making it hard to accomplish a feat never done before, but the Royals did just that in 2011. All three primary outfielders - right fielder Jeff Francouer (47); left-fielder Alex Gordon (45); and center-fielder Melky Cabrera (44) - collected 40+ doubles each; the first time an outfield trio had done so in the history of the game.
The MLB All-Star Game returned to Kansas City, giving the 'The K' the distinction of being one of four ballparks still in use to host multiple Mid-Summer Classics - joining Angel Stadium, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. Billy Butler represented the Royals and received a thunderous stand-ing ovation from the hometown crowd. The National League won 8-0 with the Giants' Melky Cabrera named MVP.
Left ﬁelder Alex Gordon, ﬁrst baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez helped make the 2013 Royals defense into base-ball's gold standard. The three standouts were named 2013 Raw-lings Gold Glove winners - the most in Royals history and the ﬁrst multiple honorees for Kansas City since 1989. It was the third such honor for Gordon; the ﬁrst for both Hosmer and Perez.
The Royals ﬁrst playoff game since 1985 was a wild one for the ages. They rallied from down 2-0 in the ﬁrst, 7-3 after six, and 8-7 in the twelfth. Salvador Perez scored Christian Colon with a two-out RBI single for the thrilling 9-8 victory over Oakland. The game began in September and ended in October - the ﬁrst of an MLB record eight consecutive wins to start the postseason.
The Kansas City Royals earned the title of 2014 American League Champions. Unbelievable? Not altogether. Improbable? Maybe so. Amazing? Yes, absolutely amazing.
After a 29-year playoff baseball drought, the Royals set their quickest course to the American League Pennant and then took Kansas City fans on the thrilling ride to get there. With a win in the American League Wild Card Game against Oakland, a three-game sweep of the Angels in the ALDS, and a four-game ALCS sweep of Baltimore - the 2014 Royals became the ﬁrst team in MLB history to start a single postseason with eight consecutive victories.
The path to the pennant included almost everything you can possibly imagine. Solid starting pitching - check. Key hits - just enough. Speed on the bases - plenty. Home runs - three game winning blasts in extra-innings alone. Defense - gleaming like a Rawlings Gold Glove all around the ﬁeld. And a bullpen that was simply dominant - lock down, lights out, game over.
The title was not unbelievable, because it had happened before - twice before for that matter. But the way it happened this time was a joy to behold. The 2014 Royals ended a long and loyal wait and rewarded Kansas City with another American League Pennant.
Ned Yost managed his ﬁrst Royals game on May 10, 2011 (a 6-1 win over the White Sox). With his 411th Royals victory, a 3-2 win over Milwaukee on June 18, 2015, he surpassed Whitey Herzog for the most managerial wins in club history. Yost always believed in his players and they believed in him. Together they put him at the top of the Royals record book.
Fans delivered votes in record numbers to earn four Royals spots in the American League All-Star starting line-up - catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Alcides Escobar, and outﬁelders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon. MLB added pitchers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera; then fans chose Mike Moustakas on their 'Final Vote' ballot. Seven All-Stars set a franchise record sending a Royal Blue Wave to Cincinnati for the Mid-Summer Classic.
The 2014 Royals earned their way into the playoffs at the wire, then took the postseason by storm with eight consecutive wins. The 2015 Royals stormed into the regular season, and earned home ﬁeld advantage throughout the playoffs with the American League's best record.
The postseason path wouldn't be as direct this time as the Astros jumped out to a two games to one lead with the Royals down four runs and six-outs from elimination in ALDS Game Four in Houston. Then the Royals put together a rallying victory to rival their epic 2014 Wild Card win. The Royals survived and advanced winning ALDS Game Five at Kauffman Stadium.
The ALCS started with two wins in Kansas City over Toronto before the Blue Jays won two of three at home to tighten the battle. Back in Kansas City, Game Six was a tight wire act to the ﬁnish. Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas home runs gave the Royals an early lead. But Toronto had the contest tied 3-3 in the eighth.
Lorenzo Cain led-off the bottom of the inning with a walk. Eric Hosmer followed with a single to right scoring Cain on his mad dash from ﬁrst to home. Closer Wade Davis and the Royals needed three outs. A single and two stolen bases put the tying run at third with no outs. Then Davis got a strikeout, another strikeout, and a ground ball.
High drama suddenly gave way to sheer ecstasy at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals had a 4-3 win and their second consecutive American League Championship.
The 2015 World Series was the ﬁrst-ever to match two expansion clubs - the New York Mets (born in 1962) and the Kansas City Royals (born in 1969). The series began on October 27th, the anniversary of the last World Series victory for both - 30 years to the day for the Royals, and exactly 29 years for the Mets.
The stars aligned for a classic start. Alcides Escobar lead-off with an inside the ballpark HR for the Royals - the ﬁrst in World Series play since 1929. Both teams held narrow leads, but the Mets were up 4-3 in the ninth - two-outs from a win - when Alex Gordon blasted a game tying HR. The game went 14 innings - matching the longest in World Series history - and ended on a walk-off RBI sacriﬁce ﬂy by Eric Hosmer.
Johnny Cueto was nearly perfect for the Royals throwing a two-hit complete game in a 7-1 Game Two win at Kauffman Stadium. The Mets took Game Three in New York and looked to tie the series at home in Game Four.
They led 3-2 into the eighth, but the Royals had plans for another of their amazing late innings rallies. With one out, the combination of two walks, an error and two RBI singles put the Royals ahead 5-3. Two shutout innings from the incomparable Wade Davis later, the Royals were on the brink of a championship.
Kansas City trailed 2-0 into the ninth before the Royals miraculously tied the game on a mad dash home by Eric Hosmer on a ground ball to third. The game remained tied until Christian Colon singled home Jarrod Dyson starting a ﬁve-run rally in the twelfth. It was more than enough.
The Royals had never played a game in the month of November. Now they had, and the 7-2 win at Citi Field in New York delivered Kansas City its second World Series Championship.