| TOPPS SHOEBOX LEGENDS |
One of the cornerstone themes of the Topps Shoebox Legends binders is the all-decade team pages. It paints a snapshot of the organization over the course of that particular decade. The 1970s Kansas City Royals all-decade team is stocked with guys who turned the expansion team into one of the most formidable teams of the latter part of the decade.
The outfield is made up of Piniella, Amos, and Cowens. Around the infield, you have HOFer George Brett at third, Patek and White manning up the middle with Mayberry covering first. Porter is the backstop with Splittorff his battery mate. I could have gone Dennis Leonard, or Steve Busby and his two no-hitters here in place of Paul Splittorff, but felt Paul had enough strong seasons and had been with the club the entire span of the 1970s. If you feel it should be Leonard, definitely let me hear about it. As I have said, these pages are fluid so if Leonard makes more sense, that’s an easy fix!
Maybe the only other spot I was 50/50 on, would have been second base and slotting in Cookie Rojas there. Cookie was a four-time All-Star from 71-75 but felt Frank White made a bigger impact on the club with his defense and speed.
This was definitely one of the franchises of the decade. After coming into the American League in 1969, they wasted no time in being competitive with a second-place finish in the AL West in ’71. If not having to deal with the Yankees, and losing three straight ALCS (1976-1978), I feel they could have easily grabbed a World Series or two in that run. They had the pitching, speed, and defense to match up with both the Big Red Machine and the Los Angeles Dodgers over in the National League.
| Between the Foul Poles | Lou Piniella was a three-time Manager of the Year Award winner … Amos Otis was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 5th-round of the 1965 amateur draft … Al Cowens won a Gold Glove and finished second to Rod Carew for the AL MVP in ’77 … Freddie Patek was a two-time All-Star and wreaked havoc on the base paths during the decade. He led the AL with 53 in ’77 … Paul Slittorff become the first Royals pitcher to win 20 games (1973), he’s also the Royals’ all-time victories leader … Frank White holds the franchise record for eight Glove Gloves, he also hit for the cycle twice (1979, 1982) … George Brett is the only player to win batting titles in three decades; 1976 (.333), 1980 (.390), and 1990 (.329) … Darrell Porter was a four-time All-Star and won both the 1982 NLCS and World Series MVP Awards with the Cardinals … John Mayberry led the American League in walks in 1973 (122) and 1975 (119) … Six of the above players are in the Royals Hall of Fame: Otis, Patek, Splitorff, White, Brett, and Mayberry.
| DINGED CORNERS |
Favorite card: 1977 Topps George Brett
Favorite card design: 1976 Topps
Least favorite card design: 1977 Topps
Hall of Famer(s): George Brett
Red Sox or ex-Red Sox: None, but see above … Frank White was a coach (1994-96)
Longest career: Brett, 21 years
Shortest career: Al Cowens, 13 years
Most teams played for: 4, multiple players
Best nickname: Fred “The Cricket” Patek