Beloved Royal Gordon 'embodies the city'

Fan favorite celebrated in Kauffman ceremony

July 25th, 2021

KANSAS CITY -- The scene was all too familiar to Royals fans who packed Kauffman Stadium ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Tigers.

Alex Gordon stood in left field. was at the plate. The throw from Gordon was a perfect one-hopper to his catcher, just like they’d done so many times before.

The strike came during the ceremonial first pitch of Saturday’s game, after the Royals celebrated Alex Gordon Day at The K with a 35-minute ceremony honoring one of the best players in club history. Gordon announced his retirement after the 2020 season and got an in-game sendoff during his last day as a Royal, but there weren’t any fans in the stands then.

Saturday offered the proper goodbye.

“He deserves this,” said before the game.

The pregame ceremony began with a highlight video and a rundown of Gordon’s accomplishments as a Royal. Gordon and his family were surrounded by seven of his Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove Award on the field. Then, the parade out of the Royals' dugout began.

First, outfielder came out with the 2015 World Series trophy raised high above his head. Then, manager Mike Matheny presented Gordon with his 2020 Gold Glove Award. First-base coach Rusty Kuntz presented Gordon with his 2020 Platinum Glove Award -- and both offerings received a huge ovation from the crowd.

General manager Dayton Moore spoke about what Gordon means to Kansas City.

Gordon’s former teammates and fellow World Series legends Wade Davis and Greg Holland unveiled a painting of Gordon’s iconic homer from Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, and and presented the locker display that was dedicated to Gordon on his final day as a Royal last year, featuring the No. 4 and a silhouette of Gordon, finger in the air, rounding first base after the Game 1 homer.

Merrifield then helped Boulevard Brewing Company unveil “Gordo’s Golden Ale,” for which the proceeds will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Gordon’s speech thanked everyone involved, from the fans to the Royals to even the Tigers, who watched the ceremony from the dugout and were the final opponent Gordon faced last year, too. Then he went to the mound to prepare to throw the first pitch to Perez -- but Perez called a time out. The veteran catcher handed Gordon a jersey and pointed to left field, where the No. 4 was waiting for him. Gordon laughed and jogged out there before throwing the strike.

It was a fitting ending to the ceremony -- and Gordon’s career.

“We’ve been waiting for a day like this,” Merrifield said. “Going out last year, it was time to retire, but having nobody here, for a guy who’s done so much for this city, built the legacy he has and had the career he had, he deserves a nice sendoff.”

Gordon ranks sixth in Royals history in games played, sixth in hits, sixth in runs, fifth in doubles, third in walks, fourth in homers and fourth in bWAR (35.0), behind only George Brett, Amos Otis and Willie Wilson. That puts him ahead of second baseman Frank White, a hometown kid who has a statue at Kauffman Stadium. Someday Gordon might have a statue here, too.

It’s not the stats that define Gordon, though. It’s that he’s the model Royal -- from his struggles early on to the high of two World Series appearances. As Saturday’s ceremony continued, it was clear that Gordon’s legacy off the field was just as important as on the field.

“He just embodies this city,” Merrifield said. “He’s from the Midwest, drafted by the Royals, played here this whole career. Was a grinder, not flashy. Just blue-collar guy who goes out and works hard every day. Was with this team through the dark days and helped bring two World Series appearances to this city and a championship. Just embodies everything this organization is.”

Royals ink Wilson
The Royals agreed to terms with their Competitive Balance Round Draft pick (No. 66 overall), Peyton Wilson, on Saturday, a source told MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis. The infielder will get the full slot value of $1,003,300, signing him away from his final two years at Alabama. Wilson was one of the more underrated picks in the Draft this year; the toolsy switch-hitter can play anywhere on the field, from catcher to center field to second base, his primary position this season. Wilson’s speed earns plus-plus grades from scouts, and his bat possesses surprising pop for his 5-foot-9 frame.

Kansas City has now agreed to terms with all four of their top Draft picks and 20 of their 21 picks overall, including fifth-rounder Eric Cerantola, a right-hander out of Mississippi State.