Glass Family Purchases Royals: The Royals established club records in runs scored (879), hits (1,644) and team batting average (.288) in 2000. Despite the offensive firepower, the Royals finished in fourth place, 18 games behind A.L. Central champion Chicago. The Royals started the season with an 8-3 record, but by the All-Star break had fallen to 39-46 and 15 games out of first. The club had a 38-39 record in the second half, only three games behind Chicago's second half mark. The Royals hit total led the American League while only Cleveland had a higher team batting average. KC also showed their speed on the bases as they had 121 thefts, while only being caught 35 times for a 78 percent success rate, the best in the league.
Player of Year: Mike Sweeney put up MVP-type numbers, posting career-bests in average (.333), hits (206), home runs (29) and RBI (144). His RBI total set a Royals single-season mark, breaking Hal McRae's record of 133 in 1982. The 144 RBI were second-best in the league behind Seattle's Edgar Martinez. Sweeney became the first American League player to hit at least .330 with 200 hits and 140 RBI since Al Rosen in 1953 with Cleveland. Sweeney also earned his first All-Star selection as he was named as a reserve for the game in Atlanta.
Pitcher of Year: Jeff Suppan was the only pitcher on the Kansas City staff to post double-digit wins, as he logged a 10-9 record with a 4.90 ERA in 35 games (33 starts). He led the club with a career-high 217 innings pitched and three complete games.
Beltran Makes His Mark: The Royals tied the franchise record with 97 losses as they finished in fifth place in the A.L. Central, 26 games behind the division champion Cleveland Indians. The last place finish was the first for KC since 1997 and its seventh straight losing season. Prior to this stretch, the club had only logged back-to-back losing seasons in the first two years of the franchise (1969 and 1970). Another slow start doomed the season from the beginning as the Royals stood at 7-15 and 9.5 games out of first by April 27. The club had a 34-53 record at the break (21 games out) and fell to a season-low 35 games under .500 on September 25.
Player of Year: Carlos Beltran was named the Royals Player of the Year after leading the club with a .306 average, 106 runs, 101 RBI and 31 stolen bases. He became the youngest player to win the award since George Brett in 1975 and 1976 at the ages of 22 and 23. He ranked among the American League leaders in 11 offensive categories as well as outfield assists (T2nd) and led the league in stolen base percentage, going 31-for-32 (.969). He earned back-to-back Royals Player of the Month honors in August and September.
Pitcher of Year: Jeff Suppan won his second consecutive Pitcher of the Year Award, posting a 10-14 record with a 4.37 ERA in 34 starts. Suppan led the Royals in wins, innings pitched (218.1) and strikeouts (120). He was also the Royals Opening Day starter for the second straight year.
Byrd Soars In Disappointing Year: Kansas City finished 62-100, marking the first 100-loss season in franchise history. The Royals were one of four teams to lose 100 games in 2002, joining Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Detroit, marking the first time in Major League history that four teams lost 100 or more games. The Royals opened the season with an 8-15 record before firing Manager Tony Muser on April 29. John Mizerock was named the interim manager and went 5-8 before Tony Pena took over a 13-23 club that was eight games out of first on May 15. Pena led the club to a 49-77 mark that included five losing streaks of six games or more, including two eight-game losing streaks.
Player of Year: Mike Sweeney was named an All-Star for the third straight season and earned his second Royals Player of the Year Award as he turned in one the best seasons of his career. Sweeney posted a .340 batting average, the second highest in the American League in 2002 and the second highest in club history (Brett, .390 in 1980). He was in the batting race until the final weekend of the season, before falling to Boston's Manny Ramirez (.349). He also led the Royals in slugging percentage (.563) and on-base percentage (.417).
Pitcher of Year: In his only full season with the Royals, Paul Byrd led the pitching staff with 17 wins, 228.1 innings pitched and 129 strikeouts and tied for the club lead with 33 starts. He also led the American League with seven complete games, which included two shutouts. Following the season, he elected free agency and signed with the Atlanta Braves.
Pena Leads Royals Turnaround: The 2003 season was a magical season for the Royals as the club posted its first winning record since 1994 and stayed in the pennant race until the final two weeks of the season. KC's season marked the sixth-best turnaround after a 100-loss season in Major League history (21 games). The Royals opened the season with a franchise-best 9-0 record and went 11-0 to start the home campaign, the second-best home start in Major League history (1911, Detroit, 12-0). KC continued its great play opening 16-3 and by the All-Star break, the Royals were 51-41 with a seven-game lead in the A.L. Central. The Royals spent 93 games in first place or tied for first during the season. After the break, injuries to the pitching staff took its toll, as the Royals fell out of first place for the final time on August 31.
Player of Year: Carlos Beltran won his second Royals Player of the Year Award after leading the club with a .307 average, 102 runs, 10 triples, 26 home runs, 100 RBI, 72 walks and 41 stolen bases. He became the first Royal and 23rd player (41st time) in Major League history to record a 20 home run/40 stolen base season.
Pitcher of Year: Darrell May was named the Royals Pitcher of the Year after registering a 10-8 record with a 3.77 ERA. He set personal bests in wins, games (35), starts (32), innings pitched (210.0), strikeouts (115) and ERA
Rookies Take Club Awards: Kansas City finished the 2004 campaign with a 58-104 record, marking its worst record in club history and second 100-loss season in three years. The season looked like it was going to be a repeat of the 2003 season as the Royals defeated Chicago, 9-7, on Opening Day. Carlos Beltran hit the first walk-off home run in Royals Opening Day history in the ninth inning after Mendy Lopez had hit a game-tying three-run homer earlier in the inning. The crowd of 41,575 was the largest in Royals Opening Day history and the third largest in Kauffman Stadium history. Unfortunately, the Royals lost 20 of their first 28 games to fall 8.5 games out of first by May 8. KC became just the second club in Major League history to lose 100 games, post a winning season the following year, and then lose 100 games the next season.
Player of Year: David DeJesus became just the second rookie (Bob Hamelin, 1994) to win the Royals Player of the Year Award after hitting .287 in 96 games with 15 doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 39 RBI. He was named the Royals Player of the Month in August and led the club in nearly every offensive category following the All-Star break.
Pitcher of Year: Zack Greinke was also the second rookie pitcher (Dennis Leonard, 1975) to earn the Royals Pitcher of the Year Award as he logged an impressive debut season in Kansas City. The 20-year old right hander registered an 8-11 campaign with a 3.97 ERA in 24 games for KC. He made his Major League debut on May 22 at Oakland and picked up his first win on June 8 vs. Montreal. He was the youngest active player in the Major Leagues upon his debut and the third youngest pitcher to start a game for the Royals, trailing only Bret Saberhagen and Mark Littell.
Bell Looks To Brighter Future: The Royals suffered their third 100-loss season in four years as they finished with a franchise-worst 56-106 record. Once again, the Royals were out of the division race early as they stood 8-25 and 17 games out of first on May 10. The slow start prompted the resignation of Manager Tony Pena, who was replaced by interim Manager Bob Schaefer. He led the Royals to a 5-12 record before the hiring of Buddy Bell on May 31. Bell won his first four games as the skipper and swept the Yankees and Dodgers in three-game series in his first two weeks on the job. The Royals could not sustain that pace though as they finished a club-record 43 games out of first. The Royals also recorded their longest losing streak in club history, a 19-game streak from July 28-August 19. The 2005 campaign was the first time in team history the Royals completed a season with the worst record in the Majors.
Player of Year: Mike Sweeney had another banner year for the Royals and was named the Royals Player of the Year for the third time. Sweeney was also named to his fifth All-Star team, joining George Brett (13), Amos Otis (5) and Frank White (5) as the only Royals players to make five or more All-Star appearances. Sweeney led the team in batting average (.300), doubles (39) and home runs (21), despite playing in only 122 games due to nagging injuries. He was also honored with the Players Choice Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, given to the player in either league whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.
Pitcher of Year: Mike MacDougal won the Royals Pitcher of the Year Award for the first time in his career after going 5-6 with 21 saves and a 3.33 ERA. He posted career highs in wins, innings pitched (70.1) and ERA, while tying his career-high with 68 appearances. He was named the Royals Pitcher of the Month in July and for September/October.
New GM Moore: The 2006 season was one of change, as the Royals hired Dayton Moore, who assumed the duties of General Manager on June 8. Moore made a series of moves to reshape both the roster and the front office. On the field, the Royals could not avoid their fourth 100-loss season in five years as they finished 62-100. An 11-game losing streak in April and a 13-game drought in May pushed the club to a 16-47 mark through June 13. The team regrouped to post a 46-53 record the remainder of the season.
Player of Year: Mark Teahen was named the Royals Player of the Year after a breakout sophomore season. Teahen struggled early with a .195 average that resulted in a demotion to Omaha on May 5. He recovered to finish the season at .290 with a team-leading 18 home runs, 69 RBI, 10 stolen bases and seven triples in only 109 games. Teahen posted .517 slugging pct. 2006 after recording just a .376 pct. in 2005. That .141 increase was second-highest in baseball and a Royals record for a player between their rookie and second seasons. His .874 on-base-plus-slugging pct. was second among all A.L. third basemen.
Pitcher of Year: Mark Redman returned from knee surgery in Spring Training to post a team-leading 11 wins. Redman won six-straight decisions from June 4th to July 6th, earning his first trip to the All-Star Game in July. He threw two complete games, including a 2-0 shutout of Minnesota on August 29th. His 11 wins were the most by a Royals lefty since 1988 (Charlie Liebrandt, 13, and Floyd Bannister, 12).
Rookies debut: After almost three years as manager, Buddy Bell announced on Aug. 1 that he would step aside when the season ended. He'd had a bout with cancer at the end of 2006 and wanted to scale back. The Royals finished last in the AL Central for the fourth straight year but avoided 100 losses, posting a 69-93 record and landed 27 games behind first-place Cleveland. After an 8-18 start, the Royals improved to 51-49 over the next 100 games but they faded back to fifth place in September. The pitching staff made dramatic improvements, going from dead last to seventh with a team ERA of 4.48. But scoring runs continued to be a problem and they were second to last in the league. Several rookies made their debuts including Billy Butler, Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria. Starter Brian Bannister's staff-best 12 wins put him in contention for AL Rookie of the Year. In his final KC season, team captain Mike Sweeney again battled injuries and played just 74 games.
Player of Year: Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek batted .302 as overcame two surgeries on his left knee, one in Spring Training and another on June 15. Determinedly, he toughed it out and played 116 games. In July he returned to bat .429 for the month and in his final 64 games he hit .332. Grudzielanek also continued his excellent defense work with just six errors.
Pitcher of Year: Right-hander Gil Meche signed a five-year, $55-million contract and gave the staff solid leadership. His record was just 9-13 but he notched a fine 3.67 ERA, best by a starter since Kevin Appier's 3.40 in 1997. Meche suffered from the worst run support in the AL but pitched a career-high 218 innings. He was the Royals' representative at the All-Star Game.
Coming of Trey: After a successful five-year stay in the Japan League, Trey Hillman was hired to beome the Royals' 15th full-time manager. Also a former manager in the Yankees' farm system, this was his first Major League job. Hillman got the Royals out of the last place for the first time since 2003. The club finished with a rush, notching an 18-8 record in September - the most victories in any month since July 1994. There was also a promising start, with a three-game sweep at Detroit over the powerful Tigers. However, after reaching first place with an 8-5 mark on April 14, things bogged down. A 12-game losing streak May 19-30 was devastating and the team never really recovered despite winning 12 of 14 games in a June stretch. Despite hitting for a higher average, the Royals scored fewer runs (691) than in 2007. Newcomer Jose Guillen led the club with 20 home runs and 97 RBIs. Gil Meche was 14 games, most since Paul Byrd's 17 in 2002, and Zack Greinke won 13. Mark Grudzielanek reached the 2,000-hit milestone and David DeJesus led the Majors with a .419 average with runners in scoring position.
Player of Year: Rookie shortstop Mike Aviles wasn't called up until late May but he soon made his presence felt. He led all Major League rookies with a .325 average and the mark was the highest ever for a Royals rookie. Aviles also socked 10 homers, had 51 RBIs and played well defensively. After he became the regular shortstop on June 6, the team had a 52-50 record.
Pitcher of Year: Joakim Soria, in his second full season, established himself as one of the game's top closers. He had 42 saves in 45 opportunities and a 1.60 ERA, holding opponents to a .170 average. He opened the season with 16 1/3 scoreless innings as well was 13 straight saves, a club record. For the first time since the heyday of Jeff Montgomery a decade before, he gave the Royals a feeling of ninth-inning invincibility.
Zack Racks Up K's at "The New K": 2009 opened with a re-dedicated Kauffman Stadium, which had undergone a $250 million renovation. Kansas City started on a roll, building an 18-11 mark and a 3.0 game lead in the A.L. Central through May 7. The Royals then struggled to a 33-74 mark over their next 107 games before rebounding by winning 14 of their final 26 contests. The ups and downs the ballclub were in direct contrast to the steady performance of two emerging stars. Pitcher Zack Greinke was dominant from start to finish and Billy Butler became an offensive force in the middle of the lineup. Both players set records and energized Kansas City fans who filled "The New K" during the Royals' 40th Anniversary season.
Player of Year: Billy Butler earned his first Royals Player of the Year award after a breakout season. Butler led the club with a .301 average and 93 RBI while finishing second with 21 home runs. His 51 doubles on the year placed him second in franchise history behind Hal McRae, who had 54 in 1977. Butler became the fifth player in Major League history to have at least 50 doubles and 20 home runs in a season prior to the age of 24. He also became the first player in modern history to record four 3-double games in the same season. Butler was named A.L. Player of the Month for September after leading the league in RBI.
Pitcher of Year: Zack Greinke became the third Royal to win the American League Cy Young Award, joining Bret Saberhagen (1985, 1989) and David Cone (1994). Greinke finished 16-8 with a Major League-leading 2.16 ERA as he captured his second Royals Pitcher of the Year award. The 25-year-old righty made his first All-Star appearance and fanned 242 batters on the year, second-most in franchise history. Greinke was nearly unhittable at the outset as he posted a 5-0 record in April to earn A.L. Pitcher of the Month honors. Dating to 2008, Greinke tossed 43.0 consecutive innings without an earned run allowed, a franchise mark. Zack struck out 15 Cleveland batters on August 25 to set a new franchise record.
Prospects Earn Top Billing: The Royals finished 67-95 in 2010, finishing last in the A.L. Central. Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman as manager on May 13. Yost later signed an extension through 2012. The Royals played close contests throughout the year, participating in 87 games within two runs or less, including a league-leading 57 one-run games. Pitcher Bruce Chen capped a magical comeback campaign by leading the staff with 12 wins. Chen, who began the season as a non-roster invite, finished in style with his first career shutout on October 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays. A big year for the Kansas City minor league system was recognized in the offseason as Baseball America gave the Royals' system top billing among all 30 clubs.
Player of Year: Billy Butler joined George Brett (1975-76 and 1979-80) as the only player in franchise history to win back-to-back Player of the Year honors. Butler batted .318 with 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 78 RBI in 158 games. He ranked in the top 10 in the American League in batting (6th), hits (T3rd, 189), doubles (T4th), multi-hit games (4th, 54) and on-base percentage (7th, .388). His final average was the highest among qualifying Kansas City players since Mike Sweeney hit .340 in 2002.
Pitcher of Year: Joakim Soria posted one of the greatest seasons by a reliever in franchise history, going 1-2 with a career-high 43 saves in 46 opportunities as he earned his second All-Star nod. He compiled a 1.78 ERA in 66 appearances, striking out 71 and walking just 16 in 65.2 innings. Soria finished the season two saves behind the club mark of 45 shared by Dan Quisenberry (1983) and Jeff Montgomery (1993). The 43 saves also were two shy of A.L. leader Rafael Soriano of Tampa Bay. Soria set a new club record for relievers with 23.2 consecutive shutout innings (spanning 24 appearances). He converted a club-record 36 saves in a row prior to blowing a chance on October 3. The 36 saves shattered the mark of 24 saves in a row that was held by Jeff Montgomery from May 25-August 9, 1993.