With all the excitement of Eric Hosmer’s debut this weekend at ‘The K’, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some other Royals debuts – of both the names we all know and a few that time has forgot. Let’s start at the top with #5 George Brett.
We can start here but as many of you know George was not #5 when he debuted for the Royals instead he wore #25 on Thursday August 2, 1973 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. He had been called up due to a nagging ankle injury to third baseman Paul Schaal who had not played since July 22. That being said the call-up was a bit of a surprise and seemed to come as a spur of the moment decision – especially for George. He is what he said at the time:
“I was sitting in the aprtment with (Mark) Littell, my roommate when (Omaha Manager) Harry Malmberg came in. He walked around for a while and said he wanted to see if our apartment was anything like his. I thought he was just coming over to tease us or something, maybe Mark because he had won last night.”
“He didn’t say anything for awhile, just walked around and then he said, ‘Congratulations you’re going to the major leagues.’ He didn’t say it to anyone , and I thought he meant Mark was going back up. I was thinking, ‘Oh, no, I’m going to lose another roommate’ – because the last time it cost me about $100 in deposits moving to another place.”
“When he said it was me, I must have left in five minutes. I took a shower. I took about three shirts with me. I left the airport at three and got here a few minutes ago (about 6:15). Harry said, ‘Take your time, you won’t be starting.’ I couldn’t believe I was when I got here.”
Of course Royals Manager Jack McKeon did have George in the line-up for that first game and Brett would collect his first hit in his second at bat – a fourth inning single of White Sox hurler Stan Bahnsen. The Royals won the game 3-1 which vaulted them into first place at 62-48 and one game in front of the Oakland A’s.
George only played in three more game before being returned to Omaha. He was recalled again in September of 1973 and played in nine more games finishing with five hits in forty at-bats for a batting average of .125. He didn’t make the big league club out of spring training in 1974 either.
His final recall come on May 3, 1974 a couple of days after the Royals traded third baseman Paul Schaal to the Califonia Angels. One interesting note most probably don’t remember (though George might) – Over his late 1973 call-up and his first two games in 1974 George was 0-18 here at Royals Stadium. His first hits at home came on May 5, 1973 against the Yankees (of course) when he went 3-4 in an 8-2 Kansas City win.
And the rest is beautiful Royals history…
(Curt Nelson, Director – Royals Hall of Fame)