KANSAS CITY -- When discussing the best individual seasons by a Royal in terms of position players, longtime Kansas City fans likely will go straight to 1980.
And with good reason: That’s the season Hall of Famer and legend George Brett nearly hit .400.
So, let’s take a look at the top five Royals individual seasons by a position player.
1) Brett, 1980
Brett’s famous chase for .400 was not only the greatest offensive season in Royals history, it was one of the greatest in MLB history. Brett, trying to become the first to hit .400 since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941, had his average at .400 as late as Sept. 19 that season. Brett finished at .390, which led the Majors, as did his .454 on-base percentage, .664 slugging percentage and 1.118 OPS. Brett also had a 30-game hitting streak that season, a Royals record that stood until 2019 when Whit Merrifield set the new mark with 31 games. Brett also had 33 doubles, 24 home runs and 118 RBIs in '80, winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award. Quite the season.
2) Willie Wilson, 1980
Talk about being overshadowed by Brett in 1980: The speedster Wilson put together one of the great Royals seasons of all time as he led the Majors in hits (230), triples (15) and runs scored (133). He hit .326 with a .357 on-base percentage, stole 79 bases and won a Gold Glove Award.
3) Brett, 1979
OK, so No. 5 probably could fill most of the spaces here. But don’t forget how good Brett was the year before he almost hit .400. In 1979, Brett led the Majors in hits (212) and triples (20). He also hit 42 doubles and 23 home runs and drove in 107 runs, hitting .329 with a .939 OPS. Oh, and he also stole 17 bases.
4) Mike Sweeney, 2000
Sweeney is rightfully remembered as one of the great Royals hitters in franchise history. And 2000 was his best season: He had 30 doubles, 29 home runs and a .930 OPS, setting a club record with 144 RBIs.
5) Jorge Soler, 2019
Perhaps the strongest player other than Bo Jackson to ever don a Royals uniform, Soler put it all together this season and belted a franchise-record 48 home runs, quite an achievement considering half his games were played at cavernous Kauffman Stadium. Soler also had 33 doubles, drove in 117 runs and posted a .922 OPS.
Danny Tartabull, 1991: 31 home runs, led the Majors in slugging percentage (.593)
Carlos Beltrán, 2003: 26 homers, drove in 100 runs, stole 41 bases and played elite defense