The gap between 30-homer seasons had lasted 16 years — a stretch that included 12 losing seasons, two trips to the World Series, and the return of the fences at Kauffman Stadium to their original, spacious dimensions.
On Saturday, designated hitter Kendrys Morales finally ended it. In a 7-4 victory over the Tigers, Morales yanked a solo homer against Tigers starter Daniel Norris in the top of the sixth, becoming the first Royals player to hit 30 homers since Jermaine Dye in 2000.
Dye hit 33 homers that season, earning starting honors in the All-Star Game. No Royal has surpassed the mark since.
“I didn’t know that (about Dye),” Morales said, speaking through interpreter Pedro Grifol. “But to hit 30 is extremely difficult. I’m glad I was able to do it.”
Morales became the 10th different Royal to homer 30 times; Danny Tartabull did it twice. And while Steve Balboni’s franchise record of 36 appears safe, Morales has seven games to equal his career high of 34, set in 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels.
“We’ve got seven games left,” Morales said, “and I just got to hit the ball in the air and see what happens.”
Kendrys Morales became the 11th Royals player to hit 30 homers in a season when he connected in Saturday’s game against the Tigers.
1. Steve Balboni
2. Gary Gaetti
3. Dean Palmer
6. Jermaine Dye
7. Bo Jackson
8. Danny Tartabull
9. Chili Davis