George Brett

In a 21-year career spent entirely with the Kansas City Royals, George Brett was a 13-time All-Star and won three batting titles, each in different decades. Brett became the franchise for the Royals, setting nearly every batting record for Kansas City. He collected 3,154 hits and his 665 doubles rank 6th all-time in baseball history.

In 1980, Brett had one of the finest offensive seasons in the post-World War II era, hitting .390 with 118 RBI in 117 games. During a 30-game hitting streak in the middle of the hot summer, Brett hit .467 with 19 extra-base hits and 42 RBI as he barreled his way to the elusive .400 mark. He was still above .400 as late as September 19th, punishing opposing pitchers who dared to throw him a fastball. His .390 average was the highest since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. He led the Royals to their first pennant and won the American League Most Valuable Player award.

Brett was one of the best post-season performers of his era and of all-time: he batted .340 with nine homers in six ALCS, and hit .373 in two World Series. He hit three home runs in Game Three of the 1978 ALCS against New York at Yankee Stadium. Brett had four hits in Game Seven of the ’85 World Series when the Royals won their first championship. That season he had one of his finest years, batting .335 with 30 homers, 112 RBI, 103 walks, and a league leading .585 slugging percentage. He finished second to Don Mattingly in AL MVP tallying.

In 1990, at the age of 37, Brett won his third and final batting title, edging Rickey Henderson down the stretch. As a result he became the only batter to earn a title in three separate decades (1976, 1980, 1990). That season he also became the oldest man to lead his league in doubles.

Quotes from George Brett

“If I were my league’s MVP, I’d be honored to attend these banquets in my honor.” – George Brett criticizing AL MVP Thurman Munson, who was a no-show at an off-season event after the ’76 season. (Source: The Sporting News, March 5, 1977)