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Who will have the Royals' next retired number?

@FlannyMLB
April 8, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- We all know the Royals’ retired numbers of 5, 10 and 20 -- they reside prominently above the Royals Hall of Fame building beyond left field at Kauffman Stadium. And, of course, Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 has been permanently retired from all MLB uniforms.

KANSAS CITY -- We all know the Royals’ retired numbers of 5, 10 and 20 -- they reside prominently above the Royals Hall of Fame building beyond left field at Kauffman Stadium.

And, of course, Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 has been permanently retired from all MLB uniforms.

Royals all-time retired numbers

But who will be the next Royal beyond George Brett, Dick Howser and Frank White to have his number retired?

Could it be Ned Yost’s No. 3? Or Alex Gordon's No. 4? Or Salvador Perez's No. 13?

They all seem like good bets at some point.

Yost, being already retired, would seem to be next man up.

“If it were up to me, I wouldn’t be against it,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. “It seems to me having Dick Howser’s number retired certainly sets the precedent.”

Royals' all-time retired numbers

Yost, who managed the Royals from 2010-19, is the all-time leader in Royals’ manager wins with 687.

Yost also is the only manager in club history to guide his team to back-to-back World Series.

Oh, and then there’s that glittering 22-9 postseason record, a .710 winning percentage that is the best in MLB history for managers with at least 20 postseason games.

The process for retired numbers is different than getting into the Royals Hall of Fame, which is done through a vote of all members of the Royals Hall of Fame, select members of the Kansas City chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, select members of the electronic media, front office staff, the Royals board of directors and fan voting.

Retired numbers are selected solely through an organizational decision, said Royals team historian Curt Nelson.

"The honor usually entails a mix of greatness on the field, overall impact on the club and the organization,” Nelson said, “along with the blessing of longevity to accomplish all of that. Being at the heart of big moments in franchise history clearly adds to the resume as well."

Howser, who guided the Royals to their first World Series title in 1985, managed the Royals from 1981-86 before succumbing to cancer.

"Dick Howser was taken from us so young, we can never know what all he would have been able to accomplish,” Nelson said. “But he had already taken us to three postseasons, won an American League pennant, our first World Series title and was just six wins shy of passing Whitey Herzog for the most in Royals history. That's powerful stuff -- and he was only 50 years old when he managed his final game."

Gordon’s seven Gold Gloves are only surpassed in franchise history by White’s eight. Gordon also has been to three All-Star Games and was selected as the Wilson defensive player of the year three times. He is unquestionably the best left fielder in Royals history.

Perez’s resume is impressive as well -- six All-Star Games, five Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards and the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 World Series. And at 29 years old, Perez likely has many more years to continue building that resume.

Both Gordon and Perez have placed themselves in postseason lore -- Gordon’s famous game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, and Perez’s 2014 game-winning Wild Card hit that started the magical two-year run.

“Those two players, Alex and Salvy, really jump out,” Moore said. “I wouldn’t argue against them.”

Added Nelson, “You can see success, impact and longevity in Ned's Royals career, and the same for Alex, and Salvador in their on-going careers, that form cases for consideration. That alone says a lot about the three of them, because the bar set by Dick Howser, George Brett and Frank White make it a very high standard to reach."

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